Brazil beats Panama 4-0 to advance at U20 WCup

Philippe Coutinho’s two goals led Brazil to a 4-0 win over

Panama on Thursday and a place in the knockout stage of the

Under-20 World Cup.

Striker Henrique put Brazil ahead with a goal from close range

in the 40th minute, and Inter Milan’s Philippe Coutinho added to

the lead in first-half stoppage time, then again in the 52nd. Dudu

completed the scoring in the 89th with a shot from inside the

area.

Brazil finished top of Group E with seven points from three

matches. Egypt beat Austria 4-0 and also finished with seven

points, but trailed Brazil on goal difference. Panama and Austria

were eliminated with one point each.

Brazil’s opponent in the second round will be either Saudi

Arabia or Nigeria. It will most likely be the Saudis, unless they

manage to beat the Africans in their last group game on

Saturday.

”We are improving in the competition and hopefully we will play

even better in the next round,” Brazil coach Ney Franco said. ”We

can’t make mistakes from now on.”

”We reached our goal, which was to advance to the second place

in first place. We were always in control.”

Panama held out for much of the first half before defensive

lapses in the closing moments.

Henrique gave Brazil the lead after striker Oscar got past two

defenders and the goalkeeper inside the area before feeding him the

ball for an easy goal from in front of the open net.

Philippe Coutinho doubled the advantage before the interval,

controlling a loose ball near the penalty spot and firing a shot

into the far corner.

He netted his second by controlling the ball with his thigh

inside the area and clearing a defender before and striking a

well-placed shot into the far corner.

The goals were Philippe Coutinho’s second and third in the

tournament, and in 20 minutes of game time, the contest had gone

from locked to effectively over.

Midfielder Dudu, who entered the match in the 18th to replace

Fernando, added the fourth with a low cross shot into the far

corner.

Brazil allowed some chances to Panama but was in control

throughout the match at the Metropolitano Roberto Melendez stadium

in the northern city of Barranquilla.

”I’m sad because this team had never allowed four goals,”

Panama coach Alfredo Poyatos said. ”But we played against a team

which is here to win this tournament and it showed.”

It was Panama which had the first significant chance in the

ninth when a free kick taken by Eric Davis went just wide.

Henrique had an opportunity for Brazil in the 18th, but his low

shot from inside the area just brushed the far post. Panama almost

took the lead in the 21st when Paul Cordero’s shot from close range

went over the bar, and striker Jose Alvarez had a goal correctly

disallowed for offside in the 23rd.

Philippe Coutinho was unmarked in front of the goal in the 30th

but couldn’t get the ball past Panama goalkeeper Luis Meija, and

Oscar missed an open net just two minutes later after getting past

Meija inside the area.

Brazil continued to dominate in the second half and had several

more chances. Casemiro struck the crossbar with a header just a few

minutes in, and the defensive midfielder also had a goal disallowed

for offside in the 63rd.

Panama Cecilio Waterman twice came close to a late goal, hitting

a powerful shot just wide in the 83rd and then hitting the crossbar

in the 85th.

Brazil, upset by Ghana in the final of the previous U20 World

Cup, is seeking its fifth world youth title. The team is without

young sensations Neymar and Lucas, who last month played with the

senior team at the Copa America, when Brazil was eliminated by

Paraguay in the quarterfinals.