Brazil coach Mano Menezes has downplayed the team’s first loss to Argentina in five years, saying his players performed well and deserved a better result.
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Brazil was beaten 1-0 in Wednesday’s friendly in Qatar after an injury-time goal by Lionel Messi, losing its first match since Menezes took over the squad after the 2010 World Cup.
It was also the national team’s first loss against its traditional South American rival since a World Cup qualifier in Argentina in 2005 – not counting the defeat in the 2008 Olympic semifinals between teams mainly made up of under-23 players.
"We have to look at this result with serenity," the coach said. "We created several chances, the final result was not fair, but we have to learn from everything that happened."
Brazil and Argentina created few significant scoring chances, and Messi scored with a great run after a mistake from substitute Brazilian midfielder Douglas, who lost the ball at midfield to give Argentina the decisive breakaway.
"We played an even match with Argentina," Menezes said. "We were closer to victory throughout the second half, but I think our team lacked experience near the end of the match. You can’t allow a goal at a time like that."
Brazil goalkeeper Victor said the result should not take anything away from Brazil’s performance, and that the match was decided by the quality of a player like Messi.
"We controlled the match, they barely had any chances to score," Victor said. "But in one play Messi made the difference."
Menezes is revamping the national team following its disappointing elimination to the Netherlands in the quarterfinals of the World Cup in South Africa. With youngsters such as Neymar and Alexandre Pato, Brazil had beaten the United States 2-0, Iran 3-0 and Ukraine 2-0 after the coach replaced Dunga.
"It was important to go through these four matches with an idea of the team’s potential and of how it can keep improving," Menezes said.
Brazil’s next match will be a friendly against France on Feb. 9 in Paris. The team’s most important competition next year will be the Copa America, South America’s most important tournament.
The coach brought Ronaldinho back to the team for the first time since 2009 and praised the AC Milan playmaker, who was substituted in the second half. He also was glad with the return of striker Neymar, who missed on the previous two friendlies because of an altercation with his club coach.
Local media picked Messi at the main reason for Brazil’s loss in Doha.
"Messi beats Brazil," read a headline in the sports daily Lance on Thursday.
"Messi hands Brazil first loss under coach Menezes," the Estado de S. Paulo newspaper said.