Brazil bring the heat to Chile
Johannesburg - Innovators of the phrase "The Beautiful Game", Brazil, brought the sentiment to life while chilling a bemused Chile during a rousing 3-0 victory in the second round World Cup game at Ellis Park on Monday night.
And in enacting Muhammad Ali's dictum to "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee", before an enthusiastic 55 000 crowd, the five-times world champions proceeded to build on a domination over Chile that now extends to 10 wins, a draw and only one defeat in the last 12 matches between the two countries.
In the process, Brazil paved the way for a quarter-final showdown against the in-form Netherlands in Port Elizabeth on Saturday afternoon - a fixture that promises to be one of the highlights of a tournament already spattered with high-voltage action, surprises and moments of scintillating soccer.
The outcome at Ellis Park was virtually signed and sealed with a clinical one-two barrage of stinging, goal-scoring blows within four minutes as the end of the opening half approached which would have done credit to Muhammad Ali himself.
It was central defender Juan who opened he score in the 35th minute while rising majestically to head home a Maicon corner, with prolific goal-grabber Luis Fabiano running onto a through-pass from Kaka to make the score 2-0 a matter of four minutes later.
And with Brazil switching to a comfortable cruise gear from this point, the third goal only emerged in the 60th minute via a thunderous 25m drive from Robinho that rocketed into the roof of the net.
Chile, in the process, appeared over-awed by opponents who have regularly proved their nemesis and only rarely demonstrated the flowing, quicksilver football that has been an eye-opener in the tournament thus far, with Kaka back after a one-game suspension and Robinho returning after what was described as a "rest", Brazil were against back to virtually full-strength, with only Elano an Felipe Melo absentees after suffering niggling injuries.
Chile fielded South Africa-born Mark Gonzalez in their line-up and battled valiantly for a consolation goal during the second period, but despite a couple of hectic goalmouth scrambles, Inter Milan's ice-cool Julio Cesar in Brazil's goal had a relatively uneventful 90 minutes.
With Robinho scenting the prospects of increasing his ratio of goals for Brazil in recent international matches, the Manchester City ball manipulator who is on loan to Sao Pulo's Santos appeared to complete his brace in the 78th minute - only to be disappointed by an off-side ruling.
And with coach Dunga ringing the changes, Robinho's goal quest was terminated in the 82nd minute when he was substituted.