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Brazil Beats Panama 4-0 To Advance In U20 Wcup

Barranquilla, Colombia, Aug 5 : Philippe Coutinho's two goals led Brazil to a 4-0 win over Panama on Thursday and a place in the knockout stage of the Under-20 World Cup.Striker Henrique put Brazil ahead
PTI August 06, 2011 17:10 IST

Barranquilla, Colombia, Aug 5 : Philippe Coutinho's two goals led Brazil to a 4-0 win over Panama on Thursday and a place in the knockout stage of the Under-20 World Cup.

Striker Henrique put Brazil ahead with a goal from close range in the 40th minute, and Inter Milan's Philippe Coutinho added to the lead in first-half stoppage time, then again in the 52nd. Dudu completed the scoring in the 89th with a shot from inside the area.

Brazil finished top of Group E with seven points from three matches. Egypt beat Austria 4-0 and also finished with seven points, but trailed Brazil on goal difference. Panama and Austria were eliminated with one point each.

Brazil's opponent in the second round will be either Saudi Arabia or Nigeria. It will most likely be the Saudis, unless they manage to beat the Africans in their last group game on Saturday.

“We are improving in the competition and hopefully we will play even better in the next round,” Brazil coach Ney Franco said. “We can't make mistakes from now on.”

“We reached our goal, which was to advance to the second place in first place. We were always in control.”

Panama held out for much of the first half before defensive lapses in the closing moments.

Henrique gave Brazil the lead after striker Oscar got past two defenders and the goalkeeper inside the area before feeding him the ball for an easy goal from in front of the open net.

Philippe Coutinho doubled the advantage before the interval, controlling a loose ball near the penalty spot and firing a shot into the far corner.

He netted his second by controlling the ball with his thigh inside the area and clearing a defender before and striking a well-placed shot into the far corner.

The goals were Philippe Coutinho's second and third in the tournament, and in 20 minutes of game time, the contest had gone from locked to effectively over.

Midfielder Dudu, who entered the match in the 18th to replace Fernando, added the fourth with a low cross shot into the far corner.

Brazil allowed some chances to Panama but was in control throughout the match at the Metropolitano Roberto Melendez stadium in the northern city of Barranquilla.

“I'm sad because this team had never allowed four goals,” Panama coach Alfredo Poyatos said. “But we played against a team which is here to win this tournament and it showed.”

It was Panama which had the first significant chance in the ninth when a free kick taken by Eric Davis went just wide.

Henrique had an opportunity for Brazil in the 18th, but his low shot from inside the area just brushed the far post. Panama almost took the lead in the 21st when Paul Cordero's shot from close range went over the bar, and striker Jose Alvarez had a goal correctly disallowed for offside in the 23rd.

Philippe Coutinho was unmarked in front of the goal in the 30th but couldn't get the ball past Panama goalkeeper Luis Meija, and Oscar missed an open net just two minutes later after getting past Meija inside the area.

Brazil continued to dominate in the second half and had several more chances. Casemiro struck the crossbar with a header just a few minutes in, and the defensive midfielder also had a goal disallowed for offside in the 63rd.

Panama Cecilio Waterman twice came close to a late goal, hitting a powerful shot just wide in the 83rd and then hitting the crossbar in the 85th.

Brazil, upset by Ghana in the final of the previous U20 World Cup, is seeking its fifth world youth title. The team is without young sensations Neymar and Lucas, who last month played with the senior team at the Copa America, when Brazil was eliminated by Paraguay in the quarterfinals. AP