Wales v Brazil: Earnie's missed opportunity

CHRIS WISE Robert Earnshaw came close to making a real name for himself last night as Wales put up a decent showing before going down to Brazil in a prestige friendly at White Hart Lane.

CHRIS WISE

Wales 0, Brazil 2

Robert Earnshaw came close to making a real name for himself last night as Wales put up a decent showing before going down to Brazil in a prestige friendly at White Hart Lane.

The Norwich City striker had two good early chances to give his country what would have been a shock lead but fluffed one of them, and was then thwarted by an excellent save.


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Wales carved out a great opening on 11 minutes when James Collins' high ball was controlled by 17-year-old Gareth Bale and pushed to Ryan Giggs.

When the cross came in Earnshaw had space but managed to lose control and the opportunity was wasted.

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The next time the Norwich man had a chance, from Giggs' clever back heel, he forced keeper Gomes into a point-blank save.

Earnshaw went on to play for 76 minutes before being replaced byDavid Cotterill, the young striker who so nearly joined the Canaries on transfer deadline day before opting to join Wigan instead.

City midfielder Carl Robinson had been replaced by Carl Fletcher on 51minutes after a hard-working performance with the likes of Kaka and Ronaldinho for company.

Brazil won as everybody expected with skill and joyful football, but the memory for Wales was that they were never overawed or overpowered by the supreme South Americans.

Marcelo and Vagner Love scored second-half goals to give Brazil their second victory in London in three days, following their eclipsing of Argentina on Sunday.

But Wales showed defiance, resilience in defence where Danny Gabbidon was outstanding, and sheer graft and hard work.

Ryan Giggs matched anything Brazil could produce, and that is saying something with Ronaldinho and Kaka on the pitch, and youngster Bale played with maturity beyond his years.

Wales held out for an hour before Marcelo's long-range strike, and Vagner Love's clever flicked header completed the victory.

Wales' youngsters and lower division players will take this performance with them into more serious Euro 2008 combat knowing that they managed to live with the world's elite.

Bale, Southampton's 17-year-old starlet, was plunged into the biggest game of his life and never looked overawed, producing control, positioning and tackling that belied his tender years. Here is a youngster John Toshack will find difficulty keeping out of his senior side.

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