A win over Haiti -- even a 7-1 win -- is not going to satisfy the critics of Dunga
's Brazil, but it sets up the Selecao to win Group B and head to MetLife Stadium for a possible showdown with
the USA in the quarterfinals. Neymar
's absence, plus a string of injuries, left Brazil at less than full strength, and a 0-0 tie with Ecuador in a match Brazil would have lost but
for a favorable call only added to the mood of pessimism surrounding the five-time World Cup champions.
Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho
stepped up and scored a hat trick to lead
Brazil past the hapless Haitians. He scored from distance in the 14th minute and added a second goal just before the half-hour mark. Coutinho and Chelsea's Willian
ran the Haiti defense ragged
and fellow midfielder Renato Augusto
added two goals. The biggest cheer of the evening at Camping World Stadium, though, came when the Carolina RailHawks' James Marcelin
Willian, a late sub in the 2014 World Cup semifinals against Germany, is the only Brazilian who played in the humiliating 7-1 loss in Belo Horizonte.
"This is a
different group of players," said Dunga at Wednesday's post-game press conference. "It's another era. We try to do our part by putting into practice what we train."
Coutinho, 23, has
played all of 23 minutes in Brazil's six World Cup 2018 qualifiers, but he took advantage of the injury to Bayern Munich star Douglas Costa
, one of six players to pull out of the Copa
Centenario after Brazil's initial roster was named.
"Coutinho is taking advantage of his opportunity," said Dunga. "He has been following us. Every game and every practice his confidence
is growing. We talked with him for him to be the Coutinho of Liverpool, dictate play, lead and take risks."
-- Peru was on course to clinch a berth in the quarterfinals after taking a 2-0
lead in the 13th minute against Ecuador, but the 2-2 tie in at the University of Phoenix Stadium leaves it probably needing to beat Brazil in their final game to advance. Enner
and Miller Bolanos
, who played for Chivas USA before it folded, scored to bring Ecuador back from 2-0 down. Even if Peru ties Brazil, it will be eliminated if Ecuador beats Haiti
by more than one goal. CROWD COUNT.
The crowd of 28,241 in Orlando for Brazil-Haiti was easily the highest for the three games at
Camping World Stadium but still rather disappointing, given the support of Brazil and Haiti in Florida. The crowd of 11,937 for Peru-Ecuador at the University of Phoenix Stadium was the lowest of the
12 games so far at the Copa Centenario and dropped the tournament average to 37,421 fans a game. Copa Centenario Crowds:
Argentina-Chile (Santa Clara, Calif.)
USA-Colombia (Santa Clara, Calif.) 60,025
Mexico-Uruguay (Glendale, Ariz.)
Brazil-Ecuador (Pasadena, Calif.) 42,766
Colombia-Paraguay (Pasadena, Calif.) 39,642
USA-Costa Rica (Chicago) 28,241
Venezuela-Jamaica (Chicago) 20,190
Peru-Haiti (Seattle) 17,133
Costa Rica-Paraguay (Orlando) 13,466
Panama-Bolivia (Orlando) 11,937
Peru-Ecuador (Glendale, Ariz.