Brazil 7, Haiti 1 | Copa America Centenario Match Recap
Goliath thumped David handily in Orlando on Wednesday night, but that didn't stop the underdogs and their legions of supporters from having a pretty good time.
Paced by a first-half Philippe Coutinho brace that banked a 3-0 halftime lead, Brazil cruised past Haiti 7-1 at Camping World Stadium to book their place in the Copa America's knockout stages.
The Liverpool FC star's strong early work was capped by an injury-time golazo that bagged him a well-deserved hat trick. Those fireworks were bolstered by a matching double by Renato Augusto, and the stress-free evening gave the favorites an opportunity to bring on 19-year-old wunderkind Gabriel, who duly struck a fine goal of his own for Brazil. Lucas Lima also got on the scoresheet with a calm header past overmatched Grenadiers goalkeeper Johny Placide.
Haiti were given little chance of knocking off the five-time world champions and it was quickly clear why. But their loud, proud fans created a party atmosphere just the same, bursting into delirium when former Portland Timbers and FC Dallas midfielder James Marcelin smashed home a rebound to spoil Brazil's clean sheet and provide one of the tournament's more heartwarming moments.
- 14' - BRA - Philippe Coutinho (Filipe Luis)
- 29' - BRA - Philippe Coutinho (Jonas)
- 35' - BRA - Renato Augusto (Dani Alves)
- 59' - BRA - Gabriel (Elias)
- 67' - BRA - Lucas Lima (Dani Alves)
- 70' - HAI - James Marcelin
- 86' - BRA - Renato Augusto
- 92' - BRA - Philippe Coutinho (Gil)
- Full box score
1. SAVAGE SELECAO SUPPORTERS SOOTHED? The fans back home are notoriously demanding of Brazil, and even pinning seven on Haiti might not be enough to calm the public's dissatisfaction with their team's 0-0 draw vs. Ecuador. But manager Dunga will surely appreciate the confidence- and chemistry-building aspects of this result, not to mention some potentially useful goal-differential-padding.
2. HAITIAN HOSPITALITY: Brazil are famously popular in the impoverished island nation, and both Les Grenadiers and their many expatriate fans in Florida were clearly determined to savor an occasion with the iconic side even if the final score turned out to be one-sided. The reaction to Marcelin's goal was joyous, spontaneous...and deafening:
3. COUTINHO COMES CORRECT: So much of the talk about Brazil's attack has centered on who isn't in uniform right now, mainly Neymar and Kaká. But Coutinho stepped into the breach to become Wednesday's brightest star, offering a reminder of his quality as well as his country's admirable strength in depth. Is the Liverpool man set to make 2016 his year?
- HAI: Sunday, June 12 vs. Ecuador (6:30 pm ET, FS2, UniMás, UDN)
- BRA: Sunday, June 12 vs. Peru (8:30 pm ET, FS1, UniMás, UDN)