Watch Video: Martinelli shines for Brazil in his first ever start in Qatar World Cup against Cameron

Watch Video: Martinelli shines for Brazil in his first ever start in Qatar World Cup against Cameron

Brazil’s last group game will not be remembered fondly. They were lucky that their late 1-0 loss to Cameroon did not lose them first place in Group G. However, for Martinelli, it may serve as a springboard.

The Arsenal attacker, whose selection for the tournament startled many in Brazil, was given his first start for the national team as Tite made wholesale changes, emerging from the match as one of the few players to have improved his credentials.

He was by far the most dangerous player in a front four that included his Arsenal teammate Gabriel Jesus, Manchester United’s Antony, and Real Madrid’s Rodrygo, his speed and directness from the left flank unsettling Cameroon throughout.

On another day, he might have had a goal to show for his efforts, but Epassy denied him three times, first tipping an early header over the bar, then stopping two strong attempts from further out.

Watch Video: Martinelli shines for Brazil in his first ever start in Qatar World Cup against Cameron
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There were three successful dribbles, more than anybody else on the field, as well as flashes of inventiveness and goal danger. At one point, Martinelli set up substitute Guimaraes for a chance that he should have taken.

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It was his speed, though, that most stood out. In an often turgid game, he was a catalyst. At one point in the second half, Cameroon’s only option was to haul him down as he threatened to race through on goal, goalscorer Aboubakar taking a yellow card which would later see him sent off in the closing stages.

It was also revealing that, while Jesus, Antony, and Rodrygo were all taken off in the second half, Martinelli was left on. Prior to this game, he has only played three minutes in this World Cup. Based on his performance today, and with Neymar’s condition still unknown, we may anticipate him to play a bigger role in the knockout rounds.


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