Chelsea FC midfielders Oscar and Ramires featured in the starting XI for Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Brazil side today against Mexico in their World Cup Group A match at the Estádio Castelão in Fortaleza. Mexico and Brazil were tied at the top of Group A coming into this match as both teams won their opening matches of this 2014 World Cup against Cameroon and Croatia respectively.
Ramires started the match but only lasted til halftime, the midfielder was not very involved playing wide of midfield, although he did complete the majority of his passes. He was replaced for the 2nd half by Bernard after a dangerous and necessary tackle on Aguilar earned him a yellow card, something that should not surprise many Chelsea supporters.
While Oscar was a key in midfield today he was not near as effective at cutting through the Mexican defense as he was against Croatia, where he was easily the man of the match. Today the young No. 11 was effective at passing and moving through the neutral part of midfield, but markedly less effective in the attacking third of the pitch as Brazil sought to crack the Mexican defense and sneak a goal past a brilliant Guillermo Ochoa for Mexico. Oscars crossing into the box produced on chance, but the chance was not converted by the Brazilians who seem to lack a true No.9.
Defensively Oscar was brilliant, winning all 8 of his attempted tackles, 7 in the defensive zone. His work rate was excellent, as per usual, but Mexico as a whole was difficult to crack tonight.
Oscar was replaced in the 83rd minute by Chelsea teammate Willian, who looked to use his athleticism as a game changer late on for the home side. Willian added some pace to the side when he came on, and completed some key passes and created some half chances, however nothing was going to slip past Mexico and their stellar keeper Guillermo Ochoa today.
In the end both sides had to settle for a point, keeping them both level atop Group A, with Brazil just ahead on goal differential.
For Chelsea supporters it was good to see Oscar and Willian play well and contribute to the side, but was another poor showing from Ramires. Hopefully he can turn it around and play a successful and competent role for both club and country in the near future.
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