Brazil 2-2 Uruguay
25 March 2016
World Cup Qualifier
Arena Pernambuco, Recife
Scorers: Douglas Costa, Renato Augusto (Brazil); Cavani, Suarez (Uruguay)
Uruguay came back from two goals down against Brazil to retain the UFWC title and remain Unofficial Football World Champions. The equaliser was scored by returning captain Luis Suarez, back in the team after a nine-match ban. Uruguay will defend the title against Peru on Tuesday in another World Cup Qualifier.
All eyes were on the returning Suarez, with Cristhian Stuani dropping to the bench to accommodate the Barcelona striker. Suarez had placed a bet on the outcome of the match with his Barca teammate and Brazil captain Neymar – the loser would buy the winner a hamburger. The drawn result means the Uruguayan and the Brazilian will have to go Dutch.
Brazil opened the scoring within the first minute, when Willian’s dangerous cross was met in the six-yard box by Douglas Costa, who managed to poke the ball into the net with an outstretched leg. And the Selecao were 2-0 up in the 26th minute. Brazil captain Neymar fired a ball into the penalty area that Alvaro Pereira couldn’t deal with, and the former Bayer Leverkusen and Corinthians midfielder Renato Augusto fired home.
Brazil could have been 4-0 up, with Neymar having as couple of chances to score. But Uruguay grabbed a lifeline in the 31st minute when Pereira’s cross was headed down by Carlos Sanchez for Edinson Cavani to volley into the back of the net. And La Celeste were level three minutes into the second half, when Suarez raced past a static David Luiz and whacked a left-footed shot past Alisson, the Brazil keeper. Alisson should have done better, but Suarez’s aim was true.
Suarez celebrated the goal by holding up a T-shirt in tribute former Uruguay physio Walter Ferreira who died in January. The remainder of the match was a niggly affair, with Suarez and Neymar both booked for fouls, and both missing chances to score. It finished 2-2, leaving Uruguay and Brazil in second and third place respectively in the CONMEBOL WC qualifying table behind leaders Ecuador.
The next UFWC title match is on Tuesday, 29 March, when Uruguay host Peru in another WC qualifier. Peru are ranked 25th in the all-time rankings, and competed in three title matches last year, but they haven’t won a UFWC title match in more than 30 years – they last held the title in 1982. Uruguay vs Peru kicks off at the Estadio Centenario in Montevideo at 20:00 local time, which is midnight UK time (BST).
Uruguay vs Peru will be streamed live and free by [link expired]. .)
(To avoid confusion, Brazil vs Uruguay was played on the evening of 25 March local time, and the morning of 26 March UK time.)