Brazil have booked their place in the FIFA U-20 World Cup final with a hugely impressive 5-0 victory over Senegal in Christchurch. The lopsided scoreline provided an accurate reflection of a match in which the South Americans were at their scintillating best, and their African opponents powerless to resist.
This last-four encounter was all but over inside seven minutes, in fact, with Senegal floored by two crushing early blows. The first was self-inflicted, with the luckless Andelinou Correa turning the ball into his own net in an attempt to cut out right-back Joao Pedro’s low cross from the byline. And worse was to follow for Joseph Koto’s side just a couple of minutes later. This time, there was no element of luck involved, with classy No10 Gabriel Jesus bursting from midfield and threading a lovely pass into the path of Marcos Guilherme. The Atletico Paranaense forward then obliged with an equally impressive finish, firing clinically into the net from just inside the box.
Brazil might have looked to protect their lead at this stage, but relying on defence doesn’t appear to be in the mindset of a team reviving the great traditions of adventurous, attack-minded Seleção sides. By the 19th minute, and after Gabriel Jesus had struck the post with another fine effort, their lead had been stretched yet further.
Real Madrid’s Jean Carlos showed fine skill on the left and delivered an inviting low cross that keeper Ibrahima Sy could reach, but not quite hold. When the ball ran loose, Boschilia took full advantage, swooping in decisively to slot home from close range.
Senegal did have moments of their own, and only a brilliant reflex save from Jean was enough to divert Sidy Sarr’s ferociously struck volley on to the crossbar soon after. But Brazil retired to the dressing rooms at half-time assured of their place in the final, having made it 4-0 with eight minutes of the opening 45 remaining.
It was a terrific goal and, again, a full-back was at the heart of the attacking action. Jorge took centre stage on this occasion, drifting away from a couple of Senegalese challenges before slotting home a composed finish to put his team out of sight.
Already with an impossibly high mountain to climb, the Africans’ task became tougher still in the closing stages of the half when they were reduced to ten men. Elimane Cisse was already on a yellow card when he snapped into a rash challenge on Marcos Guilherme, and the ensuing red was both inevitable and just.
The pace dropped in the second period, with Brazil preserving energy and Senegal unable to muster any kind of comeback. But Marcos Guilherme remained lively and, after testing the reflexes of Sy from 20 yards, he wrapped up the win with a well-worked fifth goal.
Much of the credit on this occasion belonged to Boschilia, who provided an excellent assist. The midfielder had ghosted into the box and was in a good position to shoot, with only the keeper to beat, but saw his team-mate even better placed and passed unselfishly for Marcos Guilherme to fire into the unguarded net.
Brazil now march on to Auckland’s North Harbour Stadium, where they will hope to secure a sixth U-20 World Cup title on Saturday against either Serbia or Mali.