The Selecao, assured of a place in the world cup finals this year(it’s never a World Cup without them), take on third placed Ecuador who are almost there as well. This match took place at Quito’s Estadio La Casa Blanca. The Conmebol qualifiers are not for the faint hearted. As such such a fixture can be daunting for Brazil, even when playing a weaker team like Ecuador. That is because Quito is 2.8km above seas level, a high altitude which more that equalizes the playing field. Interesting choice of selection for Brazilian coach Tite. Philippe Coutinho’s move to Aston Villa is paying dividends, he was recalled in part of a two man attack with Atletico Madrid’s Cunha. Emerson Royal got the nod at right back, despite the Tottenham man’s indifferent season so far, so did Fred of Manchester United. All in all a strong side for a team that has already qualified. Ecuador have no big name soccer players , with notable players being Ener Valencia and Hincapie of Bayer. A very eventful opening thirty minutes of VAR correcting the refs decisions as well as a Casemiro goal. The Casemiro goal had a hint of a two footed foul on keeper Dominguez but was allowed to stand. Dominguez got a red card in those crazy thirty minutes for a crazy martial arts kick at Cunha. Noreversing that one. Then a decision which should have been reversed, a red card for Emerson Royal for a small kick at Estrada.

Allison Becker of Liverpool even got into the red zone with the referee, getting sent off for dangerous play, a high boot whilst clearing the ball on 25 minutes. This one was reversed rightfully as Allison had long cleared the ball ages before contact with Ener Valencia. All in all Brazil played the better soccer. Ecuador were restricted to aerial balls into the box not troubling the keeper much. This game was full of fouls and cards but not particularly bad tempered. A better second half from Ecuador though. Brazil having little to play for settled into a pattern of “try tp score if you can” we will catch you out on the counter. Ecuador got their reward in minute 75 from the set piece. Brazil has always struggled with set pieces and you can see why. Watch the man for man marking was poor, there wasn’t a lot of yellow shorts in the box. seven versus 5. No excused not to get close to Felix Torres number 2 for Ecuador. Number 3 Tiago Silva expected to do better, easily bumped off, Casemiro number 5 should get there. Ecuador now one win away from Qatar after this 1-1 draw.