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(photo credit: )
Argentina emerged victorious in a clash of soccer heavyweights when it defeated regional South American rivals Brazil 2-0 on Wednesday afternoon at Haifa's Neve Sha'anan Stadium. The two teams came head to head met in a hotly anticipated tie that unfortunately never quite lived up to its glamorous billing.
Both teams were playing their second game in the competition, Brazil having thumped France 3-0, and Argentina having previously drawn 1-1 with Britain. The game was played in sweltering heat and as a result it seemed as neither team was interested in playing a free-flowing game, with the match's rhythm interrupted by numerous fouls committed by either side.
The game started off quietly with possession spread evenly between the two teams, but the first notable event of the match was entirely unrelated to the ball when Brazil's star center-forward Rafael Bluvol pulled up sharply in the 11th minute with an injury to his Achilles tendon. Bluvol was taken to a local hospital for medical checks and is presumed to be ruled out of Brazil's next game, against Britain this Friday.
The only moment of interest in an otherwise dull first half was when Argentina's number seven, Ezequiel Rubin, nodded the ball past the Brazil goalkeeper to score with a routine header from five yards after he had been left unmarked at the near post following a short corner.
By way of response, Brazil stepped the pressure and started to probe and test the Argentinean defense, but found no way through a resolute opposition. Half time came and went and, despite having a lion's share of possession, Brazil could not find a way to score.
The match's pattern was further upset early in the second half as a flurry of niggling fouls from both teams stopped the game from flowing. It was no surprise then that the match was eventually settled as a result of a foul, the game being put beyond Brazil when Andres Faes was adjudged to have been pushed in the penalty area.
Faes dusted himself off to score the resultant penalty, powering the ball low to the right of the Brazilian goalkeeper.
Faes told The Jerusalem Post after the game of his pride in having scored. "It's the most important game," he said, "We are hard rivals as we share a big history together. Although we start all matches with the same concentration, Brazil is something else."