Real Madrid superstar Casemiro stole all three points for Brazil after scoring a late winner against Colombia in Copa America.

Brazil secured top spot in Group B of Copa America, following a heated and controversial 2-1 win over Colombia. The result caused a lot of debate, especially with the equaliser from Roberto Firmino as the ball had hit the referee during the build-up.

It was, nevertheless, a poor performance from Brazil, who got behind early thanks to an exquisite wonder goal from Luis Diaz in the tenth minute. Although the hosts were the dominant side, controlling possession throughout the course of the game, they had problems fashioning goalscoring opportunities, especially in the first half.

The Selecao continued to ask questions after the restart, but it seemed Colombia would easily hold on thanks to their dogged defending. That was until the 78th minute when the referee Nestor Pitana came in the way of Neymar’s pass just 10 yards away from Colombia’s penalty box, prompting the defenders to pause for a moment.

Brazil, though, played on and scored through Roberto Firmino, sparking a lot of controversy with the Colombians even unwilling to restart the game. The referee later confirmed the goal for Brazil, who later used their momentum to fashion out a late winner from Casemiro, thus securing all three points for Tite’s men.

Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over both Brazil and Colombian players in this heated encounter in Rio de Janeiro this midweek.

Brazil

Weverton: 6/10

Starting ahead of both Alisson and Ederson Weverton was completely beaten by Diaz’s incredible effort in the tenth minute. He otherwise had a quiet game, with Colombia only mustering two shots on target in the entire game.

Danilo: 6.5/10

Danilo played a key role in helping Brazil in the build-up play, especially in the final third. He almost camped himself in the opposition third, but read the game well when necessary.

Marquinhos: 7/10

Marquinhos was solid as ever, using his game-reading abilities to neutralise potential counter-attacking opportunities for the opposition. Also dominated the aerial challenges.

Thiago Silva: 7/10

It is always nice to see Thiago Silva and Marquinhos pair up together. This time around, Silva played the more supporting role, helping Marquinhos marshall the backline. He was also much more involved in the build-up, sporting a pass completion of 99%.

Alex Sandro: 6.5/10

Alex Sandro was another key component in Brazil’s attacking play out wide. The Juventus fullback made useful overlapping runs to help stretch out the Colombian defence. The creativity was lacking in his game, though.

Everton Ribeiro: 5/10

Everton Ribeiro had a difficult game against Colombia. As one of the attacking players in the side, he struggled to create too many goalscoring opportunities, even making way for Roberto Firmino at half-time.

Casemiro: 8/10

Starting ahead of Fabinho, Casemiro didn’t have to do too much in midfield as Colombia were happy to just sit back and defend. It allowed him to spray the ball around the mark without too much difficulty. He later became a hero for Brazil, nodding home from a corner in the 99th minute to secure all three points for his nation.

Fred: 6.5/10

The only Brazilian midfielder to feature in all three matches so far, Fred was a vital cog in the second line of press. His work-ethic and willingness to win back possession helped the Selecao impose themselves in the middle of the park. But yet again, the creativity was missing, ultimately leading to his substitution.

Richarlison: 6.5/10

Richarlison certainly wasn’t a standout player for Brazil in this encounter. He was bereft of service and looked like a misfit in the central attacking role.

Gabriel Jesus: 6.5/10

Gabriel Jesus was crafty, as usual, looking to carve out potential goalscoring opportunities by using his quick feet and passing awareness in the final third. He wasn’t very effective, though.

Neymar: 7/10

After two impressive performances, Neymar failed to shine on Wednesday. He lacked precision with his finishing, though a perfect corner late in the game helped set up the goal for Casemiro.

SUBSTITUTES

Roberto Firmino: 7/10

Roberto Firmino replaced Everton Ribeiro at half-time, as Tite opted for more offensive presence. Didn’t have a noticeable impact until the equaliser in the 78th minute.

Renan Lodi: 7.5/10

Renan Lodi made the real impact for Brazil after coming on for Sandro around the hour mark. He offered a lot of service out wide, including the delightful cross that found Firmino for the equaliser.

Lucas Paqueta: 6/10

Lucas Paqueta was a 68th minute substitute for Fred, adding more creative firepower for Brazil in the final third.

Everton: N/A

A late replacement for Gabriel Jesus. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

Gabriel Barbosa: N/A

A late replacement for Richarlison. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

Colombia

David Ospina: 5/10

David Ospina showcased a poor brand of goalscoring when he failed to grasp Firmino’s header, ending up conceding the equaliser. Later showed poor sportsmanship by arguing with the referee and discouraging his teammates from restarting.

Daniel Munoz: 6.5/10

Daniel Munoz was brought in as a defensive outlet for Colombia in the right-back position. He had difficulties keeping up with the Brazilian attackers but defended doggedly till the very end.

Yerry Mina: 7.5/10

Yerry Mina was an absolute rock at the back of Colombia, notching up six clearances, four interceptions and two blocks. Kept the Brazillian attackers at bay for the most part, before crumbling during the final phase of the game.

Davinson Sanchez: 7/10

Davinson Sanchez complemented the defensive effort of his partner Mina. His aerial and physical dominance made it difficult for the opposition, but the Tottenham centre-back also crumbled under pressure late in the game.

William Tesillo: 6/10

William Tesillo was perhaps the least impressive of the four Colombian defenders, looking particularly vulnerable in possession. Los Cafeteros might have used a bit more quality in this position.

Juan Cuadrado: 7.5/10

It was Juan Cuadrado that provided the sumptuous cross to feed Diaz for the opener. The Juventus wide player was Colombian’s most lethal weapon on the counter, although an unnecessary yellow now sees him being ruled out for the quarter final tie.

Wilmar Barrios: 6.5/10

Wilmar Barrios provided some crisp passes, but without possession, the defensive midfielder was not as influential as he was in the first few matches. Did a great job defensively, though, notably winning five ground duels.

Mateus Uribe: 6/10

Mateus Uribe’s return from suspension helped Colombia find a better balance in midfield. Unfortunately, the FC Porto star could offer much in the creative department.

Luis Diaz: 7/10

Luis Diaz’s exquisite effort for the opener will go down as the best goal of the tournament so far. Other than the goal, the Porto attacker was a threat from the counter thanks to his dynamism, but the influence wasn’t there.

Rafael Santos Borre: 5/10

It was a disappointing display from Rafael Borre, who struggled to impose his authority in the final third. He failed to cause any kind of problems for the Brazilian centre-backs and was subbed off around the hour mark.

Duvan Zapata: 5/10

Duvan Zapata didn’t fare any better either. He was barely involved in the game, mustering only 23 touches before being subbed off in the 64th minute.

SUBSTITUTES

Miguel Borja: 6/10

Miguel Borja replaced Zapata to offer more freshness in Colombia’s second line of press. Offered some good resistance but couldn’t keep out the Brazilians late on.

Gustavo Cuellar: 5.5/10

Gustavo Cuellar was another player brought on to solidify Colombia’s defensive lines. Not much subtlety with his defending either.

Oscar Murillo: N/A

A late replacement for Diaz. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

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