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David Luiz struggles, Oscar once again quiet as Brazil progress to the Confederations Cup final

Scott Heavey

Uruguay gave their all in this one, forcing Brazil into easily their worst performance of the Confederations Cup so far. Starting once again on an emotional high with the full force and the full voice of the Belo Horizonte crowd behind them, Brazil surprisingly struggled early. David Luiz was chief among all offenders, especially when it came to defending this corner:


via Feint Zebra

Yes, shirt-tugging, wrestling, choking goes on all the time during set pieces, but when you do something like that right in front of the nose of the referee, you should not be surprised if he ends up blowing for a penalty. David Luiz collected a yellow for his troubles, but his blushes were saved by a fantastic Julio Cesar who saved Diego Forlan's penalty.

A mostly lackluster, emotional, chippy match was highlighted by the three goals and the work rate of Edinson Cavani. Brazil's first came via Neymar; who else? He controlled a lovely lofted ball over the top from Paulinho with ultimate ease and arrowed it at the onrushing goalkeeper with the outside of his boot. Muslera saved acrobatically but Fred made no mistake from the rebound, shinning it low into the far corner and making it seven goals in his last nine for the Selecao.

Uruguay equalized early in the second half. Brazil's defense had been unconvincing all afternoon and after creating yet another mess in their own box - David Luiz hitting his clearance into Luis Suarez, then Thiago Silva passing lackadaisically to Marcelo - Edinson Cavani nipped in, won the ball, and made no mistake with his left foot. It was his first goal of the tournament and it was no less than he deserved for all the hard work he put in up and down that right flank today. His highlight tackle on Marcelo at the edge of the Uruguay box would've made Ricardo Carvalho proud.

As the second half wore on, Uruguay defended deeper and deeper and Brazil grew into the game. An ineffective Hulk was hauled off in favor of Bernard, injecting life into the attack. Oscar made a rare impact with a nifty backheel/roll-back, but Neymar missed somewhat surprisingly. The ever increasingly tired-looking Chelsea player was substituted on 73 minutes.

Brazil's equalizer came from a set piece, a simple far-post header from Paulinho from Neymar's corner giving them the lead for good with just five minutes to go. So no goals from Barcelona's newest but at least one assist (and plenty of hilarious dives). Ready for that supporting role not only next to Messi then but at the Academy Awards as well.

So Brazil progress to the final as expected. Their opponents will be decided tomorrow as Spain meet Italy in the second semifinal.

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