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Willian helps Brazil salvage another draw; Miazga and USA fall short of Olympic qualification

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The last bit of action for this international break has now concluded in the Americas, with Chelsea players experiencing few highs and several lows.  It's a bit fitting for this season, really.

Let's start with perhaps the most disappointing game and result, USA's 2-1 loss to Colombia -- scoreline nowhere near reflective of the visitors' dominance -- in the second leg of the playoffs to determine the final qualifier for this summer's Olympic tournament in Rio.  Following a decent 1-1 draw in Colombia last week, all Miazga and the USA had to do was keep a clean sheet at home and they were through.  Alas, half an hour into the second leg, the away goal advantage was erased, thanks to a bit of silly defending, with everybody getting in each others' way when Miazga (#3) could've cleared it to begin with.

The Chelsea defender's day went from bad to worse in the second half, when after a lucky own goal brought the US back on level terms, Colombia grabbed the winner just past the hour mark.  Miazga then became the second US player to be sent off just before the final whistle for a professional, last-man foul.  The US finished with nine men and not much credit at all.  Miazga's first competitive minutes since his Chelsea transfer are probably ones to forget and forget quickly.

It wasn't much better going in the game taking place almost concurrently, as Brazil went behind 2-0 to bogey team Paraguay -- though nowadays who isn't a bogey team for Brazil? -- before a furious last 15 minutes saw them come back and salvage a draw.  Willian got the official assist on the equalizer, though he had very little to do with it in all honesty.  At least Dani Alves made up for some of the silly defending from earlier in the game.  Oscar, once again, did not play at all.

So, more pressure on Dunga now, for both his tactics and his selections.  Brazil have just two wins from the first six games in the World Cup qualifying cycle, which, if it ended today, would see them miss out on a place in Russia.

Just ahead of Brazil are Colombia, who easily dispatched previously unbeaten Ecuador 3-1.  Juan Cuadrado played most of the game and grabbed an assist on Colombia's third goal.  They probably could've had several more.

Elsewhere, Michael Hector played the full game as Jamaica were trounced 3-0 by Costa Rica.

And thus ends another international break.  Back to proper football.

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