Brazil breeze past Australia in Melbourne
BRAZIL have shown why they're the number one team in world football, and why the Socceroos have work ahead of them.
The Socceroos will kick off next week's Confederations Cup in Russia on the back of a 4-0 loss to Brazil at the MCG.
It was always going to be a tough ask against the five-time World Cup winners, but Australia made life difficult, a hideous start handed Brazil a 1-0 lead - and brace-scorer Diego Souza his maiden international goal - after just 12 seconds at the MCG, before Thiago Silva Taison finished the hosts off.
And while Australia were clearly outclassed and could have shipped more goals had the classy Selecao been more ruthless, the 48th-ranked nation dug in for long periods against the five-time world champions.
Ange Postecoglou delivered on his promise to give players a run before the Confederations Cup, starting Tim Cahill and Mitch Langerak among eight changes to the starting XI that featured last up against Saudi Arabia.
Young bolter Ajdin Hrustic also made his debut off the bench. The coach stuck to his guns on his controversial 3-4-3 formation but it had nothing to do with Australia's three-man backline being breached on the very first play.
Bailey Wright's errant pass embarrassingly gave cheap possession to Giuliano, who spotted Souza's run and teed up a clever pass for the Sport Recife man to squeeze home.
Philippe Coutinho, wearing his country's armband for the first time, essentially did as he pleased and was at times unplayable.
Yet the Socceroos settled into the contest, pressing Brazil's defenders despite being heavily out-possessed with the returning Mark Milligan a particularly bright spark.
Aziz Behich soared down the left and whipped in a cross for a menacing Cahill to force a last-ditch Brazil clearance, before Cahill's snap volley from the subsequent corner flew over the crossbar while James Troisi fired wide just before halftime.
Brazil continued to please the 48,847-strong crowd with some sublime interplay between Coutinho, Souza and Alex Sandro, only for Paulinho to fluff his lines.
After the break Postecoglou set loose Hrustic, Jamie Maclaren and Jackson Irvine, but some below-par defending allowed Silva to double Brazil's lead five minutes later.
Off a Coutinho corner, Luiz crashed a header into the bar and, after some aerial ping pong, Silva got it over the line as Langerak lay sprawled on the pitch.
Langerak soon atoned with quality twin saves to deny Souza and Taison, but there was nothing he could do about Taison's next shot.
Paulinho wriggled free and dinked a delightful backheel for the Shakhtar Donetsk attacking midfielder to slot home, before Langerak saved a certain Hrustic own goal and Souza headed home a corner to seal the result.
Former Socceroo and Fox Sports analyst Robbie Slater led the criticism of the Socceroos, saying Australia was clearly outplayed by Brazil and Ange Postecoglou's side was fortunate the scoreline wasn't more severe.
"Let's make no bones about this, we were second-class," Slater said on Fox Sports.
"(Brazil) Best team in the world, they've won the South American federation by a long way and really qualified in cruise control. But they toyed with us.
"I said at halftime I felt like they were in second gear, they went up a gear and I think that's a realisation that on this stage, at this level, where we are."
"I didn't find it very good, I found it hard to watch at times. At times we were chasing shadows in the second half. They were unbelievable. Credit to them and what it means to pull on that Brazilian shirt.
"You can tell on the face of these boys (Socceroos) it hurts and so it should hurt, it's not the ideal preparation going to the Confederations Cup - because that could have been six or seven."
Socceroos legend John Aloisi backed Slater's assessment and said the Socceroos must quickly turn things around before their first group match in Russia against World champions Germany.
"I feel down about it," Aloisi said. "First half I was quite optimistic, I thought we contained them quite enough, they didn't really have a lot of chances. In that second half, it could have been anything.
"The boys will feel down. Ange will be livid, because we got torn to pieces in that second half, and that's not what he expects - as a leader he needs to pick them up now."
The Socceroos face Germany, Chile and Cameroon in Group B at the World Cup test event.