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Philippe Coutinho scores a hat-trick as Brazil thrash Haiti 7-1 in Copa America 2016

If anything, this emphatic scoreline should be a reminder for Brazil that all is not well, rather than something to brag and boast about.

Philippe Coutinho scored a brilliant hat-trick as Dunga’s side crushed Haiti, tossing them this way and that, like a dog with a chew-toy, but the end result turned out to be a reminder of the most painful night in Brazil’s history.

The 7-1 defeat by Germany in the 2014 World Cup semi-final is still fresh in the memory and no matter how savage a beating they dealt Haiti in Orlando, it was, of course, just Haiti they were beating. 

Philippe Coutinho smashes the ball into the back of the net to give Brazil the lead against Haiti in Orlando

The Liverpool midfielder celebrates after scoring in the 14th minute for Brazil’s first goal of the tournament

Coutinho leaps into the air to celebrate as his Brazil team-mates run to join him at the Camping World Stadium

Coutinho leaps into the air to celebrate as his Brazil team-mates run to join him at the Camping World Stadium

Coutinho (second left) gets a hug after scoring Brazil's second goal from close-range on Wednesday evening

Coutinho (second left) gets a hug after scoring Brazil’s second goal from close-range on Wednesday evening

MATCH FACTS

Brazil: Alisson 6, Dani Alves 7, Marquinhos 6.5, Gil 6.5, Filipe Luis 7, Casemiro 7 (Lima 62), Willian 7, Elias 7 (Wallace 72), Renato Augusto 8, Coutinho 9.5, Jonas 7.5 (Gabriel 46, 8 ).

Subs not used:  Diego Alves, Goose, Rodrigo Caio, Fabinho, Douglas Santos, Lucas Moura, Hulk, Marcelo

Booked: Casemiro.

Goals: Coutinho 14, 29, 90+2, Renato Augusto 35, 86, Gabriel 59, Lima 68

Haiti:  Placide 4.5, 6.5 Alcenat (Mauritius 83), Jerome 5, Geneva 5, Goreux 4.5, Jaggy 5, 6 Lafrance, Marcelin 6.5 5.5 Alexandre Louis 6 5 Belfort (Nazon 49, 6). 

Subs not used: Ceus, Lambese, Guerrier, Millien, Norde, Mustivar, Aveska, Hilaire, Christian, Valendi Odelus

Booked: Reginal Goreux

Goal: Marcelin 69

Referee: Mark Geiger (USA)

Brazil faltered in their opening Copa America Centenario Group B game, drawing 0-0 with Ecuador, and this was the perfect reaction, but given their opponents, it would be prudent not to read too much into it.

They started quickly – in the 14th minute Filipe Luis fed Coutinho on the left and the Brazilian surged forward, towards the penalty area, launching a powerful strike into the bottom left corner, beating Johnny Placide at his near post.

The goalkeeper perhaps could have done more, but the defence shouldn’t have let Coutinho have enough space to hit the ball at goal. It’s not like there wasn’t a warning sign, with the goalkeeper already fielding a long-range strike from the Liverpool man.

Another Premier League star, Chelsea’s Willian, also caused problems for Haiti, needling at them with his speedy runs, with Reginal Goreux deservedly making it into the referee’s notebook for a cynical barge on the wide man.

The second goal was soon forthcoming, before the half-an-hour mark. Dani Alves crossed from the right and Benfica striker Jonas worked hard to make sure it was his ball, which he stabbed across for Coutinho to finish at the back post. 

The 23-year-old slotted the ball into an empty net after Jonas took out Johnny Placide with a clever pass

The 23-year-old slotted the ball into an empty net after Jonas took out Johnny Placide with a clever pass

Renato Augusto heads home Brazil's third goal of the evening as goalkeeper Placide fails to stop his effort

Renato Augusto heads home Brazil’s third goal of the evening as goalkeeper Placide fails to stop his effort

Augusto (second from left) points to the sky after giving Brazil a three-goal advantage in Orlando

Augusto (second from left) points to the sky after giving Brazil a three-goal advantage in Orlando

Augusto celebrates his second goal of the evening and Brazil's sixth after netting with four minutes left to play

Augusto celebrates his second goal of the evening and Brazil’s sixth after netting with four minutes left to play

Haiti had hit the midfielder twice with heavy tackles in the first four minutes but couldn’t get close to him after that. He doesn’t always produce in this way when with his country – then again, they aren’t always playing Haiti – but in Orlando Coutinho was sublime.

Coutinho almost created the third, after a storming run by Willian, but his cross was deflected and Placide managed to keep it away from the lurking Jonas.

It was good work by the goalkeeper, but hero turned villain moments later. His horrendous throw out landed straight at the feet of Dani Alves, who whipped the ball back into the box for Renato Augusto to nod beyond Placide for the third goal.

Four nearly arrived when Willian’s cross just eluded Jonas, while at the other end Haiti had their first chance, in the 41st minute. Jean Sony Alcenat got forward and fired in a low strike, which was easy enough for Alisson to deal with. 

Substitute Gabriel Barbosa scored Brazil's fourth goal against Haiti less than 15 minutes after coming on

Substitute Gabriel Barbosa scored Brazil’s fourth goal against Haiti less than 15 minutes after coming on

The 19-year-old Santos striker has been described as the 'next Neymar' by some due to his prodigious talent

The 19-year-old Santos striker has been described as the ‘next Neymar’ by some due to his prodigious talent

Lucas Lima headed home a cross from team-mate Dani Alves just six minutes after coming off the bench

Lucas Lima headed home a cross from team-mate Dani Alves just six minutes after coming off the bench

It eventually did in the second half, but not before Gabriel Barbosa – or ‘Gabigol’ as he is known – made his introduction. Brought on for Jonas at half-time, the Santos starlet is the latest starlet off the production line.

He was sharp from the off, reaching Elias’ fine through-ball and drilling home to pile on the misery for Haiti.

Another substitute, Lucas Lima, joined in the fun, when he nodded Dani Alves’ cross home for Brazil’s fifth goal, with Haiti in absolute tatters at the back.

Haiti did get a consolation goal though, with James Marcelin firing home at the back post after Alisson parried a low effort, and it was raucously greeted by their support at the lamentably named Camping World Stadium.

Lima pretends to shine the boot of Barcelona defender Alves, who is set to leave the club for Juventus

Lima pretends to shine the boot of Barcelona defender Alves, who is set to leave the club for Juventus

Lima gestures towards the sky after making an instant impact for Dunga's side at the Camping World Stadium

Lima gestures towards the sky after making an instant impact for Dunga’s side at the Camping World Stadium

Haiti's James Marcelin (right) wheels away after grabbing a consolation goal for his side against Brazil

Haiti’s James Marcelin (right) wheels away after grabbing a consolation goal for his side against Brazil

If this game was Brazil setting out their tent then Haiti were the soft ground they were pitching on, offering little-to-no resistance against Dunga’s scouts.

Coutinho wrapped up his hat-trick at the end, with his finest strike yet, another long distance curler that nestled delightfully in the far corner.

Up next is Peru for Brazil, who will be a sterner test in their final Group B clash. Conquer that challenge with as much vigour as they tackled this one, and they can be considered contenders for the title once again.

And it will take just that, a major title, for the pain of recent years to start subsiding.

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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