Brazil turn on the style to top Group C with a 100% record

February 28 – Brazil made it three wins out of three as they topped Group B at the W Gold Cup with a 5-0 win over Panama.

On a chilly evening at the Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego Brazil strolled, sometimes swaggered, through Panama’s defence. They have yet to concede a goal and certainly haven’t scored as many as they would have liked, but against Panama they matched fluidity with goals, even so 5-0 still flattered Panama.

Brazil, who have yet to concede a goal, now head to Los Angeles for the quarter finals this weekend. Panama head home, in desperate need of a strategic rethink.

Arthur Elias made nine changes to his starting line-up from the 1-0 win over Colombia.

Ignacio Quintana stuck with the same XI that had lost to Puerto Rico 2-1.

Seven months ago in this stadium Panama’s men’s team famously beat the USA to qualify for the final of the men’s Gold Cup. Their women’s team have not had such a happy time.

After opening with a confidence-sapping 6-0 defeat to Colombia they followed up with a 2-1 loss to Puerto Rico in added time, a game they were expected to win.

Brazil aren’t the kind of team you want to play when your game plan has been horribly exposed and you running short of self belief.

Brazil stuttered in their opening game of the group, only managing to beat Puerto Rico with a goal just before the end. Against Colombia they bounced back playing with the kind of individual skill and natural simplicity that has been a hallmark of this nation’s football.

Panama felt what it was like to play a Brazil that is starting to find their flow.

Where the Central Americans lined up with five at the back, Brazil put five alongside them. While Panama huffed, puffed and put the boot in, Brazil kept the ball for fun. Not even the brilliance of goalkeeper Yenith Bailey could match this version of Brazil.

Brazil were ahead in the 5th minute. Geyse, from 25m out hit her shot high and right of a rooted Bailey.

In the 10th minute they were two up. A cross from Bia Zanaretto found Beatriz Ferreira unmarked at the back post for a simple head in.

In the 22nd minute a Debinha corner found the head of captain Rafaelle who headed in from 7m. 3-0 and it was all too easy.

Brazil opened the second half in the way they finished the first. On 49’ Julia Bianchi scuffed her shot just wide but Debinha made no mistake a minute later from 6m – 4-0.

Brazil were unpicking Panama’s back line with ease and getting players in numbers close to goal. The Panamanians  responded by putting more defenders in the box.

On 73’ minutes Geyse had her second and Brazil’s fifth. With Brazilian shots raining on Bailey and her massed ranks of defenders, Geyse’s shot eventually found a way through.

Brazil continued to pepper the Panama goal with shots. Bailey kept the score down with a series punches and blocks including one double save from Debinha.

Brazil will now face bigger challenges but they are a team that is starting to hit their stride at just the right time.

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