Sunday, July 15, 2012
15 July 2007 - Thanks, Argentina, But They Didn't Need The Help
The Brazilians stumbled out of the gate at the start of the tournament, losing 2-0 to Mexico, but rallied with wins over Chile (3-0) and Ecuador (1-0) to finish second in their group and advance to the knockout rounds, where they beat Chile again (6-1), then Uruguay (2-2 (5-4)) to reach the Final.
Argentina, meanwhile, won their group with wins over the United States (4-1), Colombia (4-2), and Paraguay (1-0), then beat Peru (4-0) and Mexico (3-0) to set their date with Brazil.
Playing before a crowd of 40,000 in Maracaibo, Brazil took a quick lead with a stunning goal from Júlio Baptista in the fourth minute. Elano sent a long ball forward from just inside the midfield stripe, which Baptista corralled in the Argentina box. He beat a defender, then fired the ball into the top far corner.
Their second goal came in the 40th minute when Argentina's Roberto Ayala tried to reach a Brazilian cross and turned the ball into his own net. The capper came in the 69th minute, when defender Dani Alves, who had come on as a first-half substitute for the injured Elano, surged up the right flank and fired a powerful blast past Argentina keeper Roberto Abbondanzieri into the far side of the goal.