Brazil puts previous disappointments behind, thumps Denmark 4-0 to win group

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At first, it appeared as though Brazil brought their wasteful side for the third straight match. That proved not to be the case.

A comprehensive 4-0 victory for the Olympic hosts saw them rediscover their scoring boots as Neymar provided the service and his young teammates finished them off ruthlessly. The win not only saw Brazil jump into the knockout stage, but also put them atop Group A.

Neymar was fantastic from set-pieces, delivering a pinpoint ball on a platter for Rodrigo Caio at the far post in the 14th minute, but the Sao Paulo defender couldn’t poke it in, smothered by Danish goalkeeper Jeppe Hojberg.

They had another horrific miss in the 24th minute as Neymar lifted one to the left edge of goal, but Gabriel Jesus couldn’t redirect it on net under pressure from Hojberg, and another brilliant chance for Brazil’s first goal of the Olympics evaporated with a frustrated scream from Gabriel.

Finally, in the 26th minute, the goal came after waves of Brazilian pressure on Hojberg’s goal. Down the left side plodded Douglas, and he crossed the ball past three defenders. It was just out of the reach of Luan¬†across the penalty spot, but at the far post it met the foot of Leicester City target Gabigol who guided it past Hojberg laying on the ground and into the back of the net.

Denmark continued to try and disrupt Brazil’s buildups with heavy fouling in midfield, but to no avail. Brazil maintained possession with less sense of urgency following the goal, and created another just before halftime with a calm demeanor. A cross from the right by Luan was right on the money, meeting Gabriel Jesus at the far post, and the Manchester City new boy buried it.

After halftime, the third came as they grew in confidence straight after the break. A good through ball from Neymar sprung left-back Douglas Santos at the edge of the area, and his cutback found Luan wide open in front of net for an easy tap-in. Gabigol grabbed a second in the 80th minute to finish off the scoreline.

The entire result, however, had a drawback. In the 71st minute, Brazilian captain and Barcelona star Neymar rolled his ankle heavily when he came down awkwardly on the foot of a Danish defender. After receiving medical attention, he surprisingly stayed on to the finish.

Denmark still advanced with the result, thanks to the 1-1 draw between Iraq and South Africa, leaving Denmark second in the group. Had either of those teams pulled out a win, it would have bumped Denmark out.