The King Abdullah Sports City Stadium in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia was home on Tuesday night to one of the best rivalries in sports as Brazil and Argentina faced off. Two Barcelona players were in action as Arthur and Philippe Coutinho played 90 minutes for the Seleção, but Lionel Messi was definitely missing as we saw a very poor football match that ended with a late 1-0 win for Brazil thanks to a goal from Miranda.
This is perhaps the most heated rivalry in international football, and that was evident from minute one. Both teams were quite physical, with Argentina especially taking risks with their tackling and walking the tight rope at times. Neymar was particularly targeted by the Albiceleste defenders, but Brazil also dished out some punishment at times.
Because of all the kicking and yelling at the referee, we didn’t get much of a football match. Mauro Icardi and Roberto Firmino are two of the best strikers in Europe, but both of them just watched the game as the two sides struggled a lot to create any meaningful chances. The best moment came on a beautiful free-kick by Paulo Dybala that went just wide, but that was it.
At halftime, a bad game filled with fouling and tacking needed a creative spark in the second half.
Argentina changed formations at halftime to put Dybala closer to Icardi, and the alteration worked as they pushed more bodies forward and started to really trouble the Brazil defense. The Seleção continued to rely heavily on individual moves by Neymar and Coutinho, but both were well marked and couldn’t impact the game in any way after 60 minutes of play.
The final 30 minutes were just a mess. Both teams were disorganized and unable to put three passes together, and we saw even more fouls and yellow cards. As we expected the final whistle to end a boring, goalless draw, João Miranda headed home a corner in injury time and gave Brazil the 1-0 win. If you didn’t watch this game, congrats for doing something a lot better with two hours of your life.
Argentina: Romero; Saravia, Pezzella, Otamendi, Tagliafico (Acuña); Lo Celso (Salvio), Battaglia, Paredes; Dybala (Martínez), Icardi (Simeone), Correa (Pereyra)
Brazil: Alisson; Danilo (Fabinho), Marquinhos, Miranda, Filipe Luis; Arthur, Casemiro, Coutinho; Jesus (Richarlison), Firmino, Neymar
Goals: Miranda (90’+3)