Football: Brazil embarrassed by defeat

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The Independent Online
BRAZIL faced a predictable barrage of criticism yesterday, most of it aimed at the coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, after their World Cup qualifying defeat against Bolivia on Sunday. 'Parreira goes down in history,' said the newspaper Estado de Sao Paulo after Brazil's 2-0 defeat in La Paz, their first in a World Cup qualifying match.

Parreira was criticised for not preparing properly to play in the thin air of La Paz, 3,700 metres above sea level, for picking the wrong team and playing too defensively. Another newspaper, O Globo, gave Parreira a mark of one out of 10 under the headline 'Disgrace in La Paz'.

In the 81st minute, the Brazil goalkeeper Claudio Taffarel appeared to have capped a fine personal performance when he saved a penalty by Erwin Sanchez with his legs with the score at 0-0. But seven minutes later, he deflected Marco Etcheverry's innocuous cross into his own net. A minute later, Alvaro Pena added to his misery by scoring with a shot which went through his legs. 'It happened,' was all Taffarel could say as he left the pitch.

The result leaves Bolivia top of Group B in South America with Brazil languishing in fourth place with just one point from two games. The top two qualify for the finals.

In the past, World Cup qualifying matches have been little more than a nuisance for Brazil, but not this time.

The Bolivian team, who recorded only their third win over Brazil in 19 matches, remained cautious about their chances of qualifying despite public euphoria which took thousands on to the streets to celebrate.

----------------------------------------------------------------- WORLD CUP QUALIFYING SOUTH AMERICAN GROUP B ----------------------------------------------------------------- P W D L F A Pts Bolivia. . . . . . 2 2 0 0 9 1 4 Uruguay. . . . . . 1 1 0 0 1 0 2 Ecuador. . . . . . 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 Brazil . . . . . . 2 0 1 1 0 2 1 Venezuela. . . . . 2 0 0 2 1 8 0 -----------------------------------------------------------------