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Hulk Inspires Brazil to 3-1 Victory Over Denmark

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Brazil cruised to a 3-1 victory over Denmark in Saturday's international friendly match in Hamburg thanks to two goals by Hulk and a Danish own goal. Mano Menezes fielded his preferred 4-3-3 formation with Thiago Silva and Juan in central defense, accompanied by Marcelo and Danilo in the left and right fullback position, respectively. Brazil opted for two deep playing midfielders in Sandro and Romulo, who were positioned behind attacking midfielders Oscar and Lucas Moura. Leandro Damiao and Hulk formed the Brazilian strike partnership with Hulk on the right in a position similar to that which he plays for Porto. Notably, Mano Menezes started the right footed Lucas Moura on the left flank, as a left winger supplementing the Damiao-Hulk pairing.

Denmark's Marten Olsen opted for a 4-5-1 formation with Bendtner in attack behind a five man midfield composed of Niki Zimling, Lasse Schone, Christian Eriksen, Christian Poulsen and Michael Krohn-Dehli. The match began with lively end to end football from both teams. Hulk opened the scoring in the 8th minute with a blistering left footed strike from roughly 25 meters that marked his debut goal for the Selecao. Bolstered by confidence from having scored the opening goal, Brazil gradually obtained a grip on possession and began splaying the ball from wing to wing, with both Danilo and Marcelo looking dangerous. Five minutes later, Hulk became involved in Brazil's second goal. Oscar popped up on the far right flank in the box and passed to Hulk, who became the foil that led Zimling to inadvertently knock the ball into his own net. With less than 15 minutes gone, Brazil were off to a dream, 2-0 start.

Denmark began to find their rhythm at the half hour mark through combination play featuring Eriksen, Krohn-Dehli and Bendtner, but failed to find the back of the net despite a sustained period of possession. Then, in trademark fashion, Brazil struck just when it looked as if their opponent were about to get the upper hand on the flow of the game. Hulk collected the ball from Oscar's tackle on Danish defender Agger, dribbled behind the Danish defense and maintained his composure in front of goalkeeper Andersen by taking the ball onto his left foot and dispatching it low and to the right past the keeper's left hand to make it 3-0.

The second half featured more threatening play from the Danes as Brazil became less imaginative when it came to attacks. Denmark, correspondingly, began to control midfield possession. Daniel Agger missed a tap-in, golden opportunity to make it 3-1 in the 48th minute from a Wass pass delivered from the right flank. Olsen replaced Christian Eriksen with Dennis Rommedahl in the 62nd minute in a substitution that increased the danger and frequency of Denmark's attacks. In the 71st minute, Denmark's search for a breakthrough goal bore fruit when Zimling streamed down the left flank and found Bendtner in the box, who calmly tapped the ball in from close range to make it 3-1.

With the goal advantage cut from three to two, Brazil became more disciplined and were helped by fresh legs due to a bevy of substitutions such as Rafael, Wellington Nem, Giuliano, Casemiro and Bruno Uvini. Denmark continued to press the attack but Brazil regained some possession thanks to Casemiro and Oscar in midfield, and Wellington Nem playing as a right winger. The score stood at 3-1 as the referee blew his whistle in a match that marked a thrilling result for a young Brazilian team. Brazil fans will take heart from Hulk's brace and overall impressive play. Moreover, Oscar delivered a stellar performance in the number 10 jersey and was involved in all three goals.

Brazil have now won seven consecutive matches and next face the United States on May 30 in the second of four friendlies before the Olympics. Denmark next play Australia on June 2 before their opening match against Holland on June 9 in Group B of Euro 2012. Denmark have been drawn in the "group of death" for Euro 2012 alongside Holland, Germany and Portugal.

Starting Lineups:

Brazil:

Jefferson (GK), Thiago Silva, Juan, Danilo, Marcelo, Sandro, Lucas, Romulo, Oscar, Leandro Damiao, Hulk

Denmark:

Thomas Sorensen (GK), Simon Kjaer, Daniel Agger, Simon Poulsen, Daniel Wass, Christian Poulsen, Christian Eriksen, Lasse Schone, Niki Zimling, Michael Krohn-Dehli, Nicklas Bendtner

Goals
Brazil: Hulk (8), Zimling (OG), Hulk (40)
Denmark: Bendtner (71)

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