It took 93 minutes for a goal to be scored in this rivalry international friendly match between Argentina and Brazil at the King Abdullah Sports City in Saudi Arabia. Brazil featured most of their usual starting lineup, while caretaker manager Lionel Scaloni did not start Messi for Argentina and featured a more youthful lineup.
Both sides played fairly well, which hurts a bit more for Argentina because of the late winner. While Argentina was greatly out-possessed, they still managed to get off only 1 less attempted shot (11 total) and 1 shot on target to Brazil’s 3. Argentina’s inexperience amongst the squad was pretty clear as well, as they kept committing fouls and racked up cards.
The big players for Argentina didn’t really get anything going. Mauro Icardi failed to get any real chances, didn’t really receive a lot of ball service either though, certainly not the best Inter player in this match. Paulo Dybala also had a frustrating night, just another forgettable international team performance from him.
Brazil’s midfield pairing of Casemiro and Arthur looked pretty good together, Coutinho less so. Arthur did seem to get frustrated at Casemiro for not passing to him, but other than that they played well. Casemiro even had a good chance of his own that just went wide of the outside post, he also made some key long ball passes.
As mentioned before, it wasn’t until the 93rd minute of stoppage time that a goal was finally scored. It was a corner from Neymar that found Miranda, completely misplayed and poorly defended by Argentina. They looked like they were ready to defend the corner and then just let Miranda score fairly easily in front of Sergio Romero.
While Romero wasn’t totally to blame for conceding the goal, Argentina are going to keep struggling so long as they fail to field an elite keeper. Not just that as they fielded a very young defense today, though it wasn’t that great in the World Cup either with their “best”. Outside of maybe Otamendi, they don’t really have a top defender that the likes of France and Belgium do, if not multiple of them.
Casemiro will return with Real Madrid this week now as the club gets back and ready for LaLiga action against Levante on Saturday. I can only speak for myself, but I’m quite glad the international break is over (for now) and league play is continuing this weekend.