Medellin, Colombia, Aug 2: Brazil beat Austria 3-0 on Monday and Argentina could only manage a 0-0 draw against an understrength England in an Under-20 World Cup match between two old rivals.
Don't put too much stock in the results, though. The two South American teams -- along with Spain -- are still considered favorites for the title as play continues through the early group stage.
In other matches Monday, Egypt defeated Panama 1-0 in Group E and Mexico had a 3-0 win over North Korea in Group F.
Brazil playmaker Philippe Coutinho scored a goal and set up two others in the later Group E match.
Henrique put Brazil ahead in the 37th minute, directing in Oscar's cross from near the penalty spot. Coutinho was also involved in that goal, and scored himself with a penalty in the 52nd after Danilo was brought down in the area. The Inter Milan player also set up the third goal with a neat pass to Casemiro, who then found Willian for an easy shot in the 63rd.
"In addition to the victory and the three points, it was important that the team played better and improved," Brazil coach Ney Franco said. "We hope to improve even more for the next match so we can reach the next round playing even better. We still need to reach a higher level"
Brazil and Egypt have four points apiece after two matches in Group E, but the South Americans lead on goal difference.
The top two teams in each group advance automatically to the knock-out stage and will be joined by the four third-place teams with the best records.
England earned something of a moral victory with its scoreless draw against Argentina. But the draw still gave Argentina four points from two matches in Group F, probably enough to reach the next round. England will need a victory in its last group game against Mexico to advance.
Argentina had a slight advantage in possession but its top forwards Erik Lamela and Juan Iturbe were unable to finish against an England squad that was missing more than 30 players who were withheld by their clubs for preseason training.
"We held up against a very good Argentine side," England coach Brian Eastick said. "The result and effort was outstanding when you consider this team was only put together 2 1/2 weeks ago."
England is also playing without its top forward Ryan Noble, who was sent home with a back injury.
Argentine coach Walter Perazzo summed up the difficulty his team had trying to attack.
"When a team comes out and wants to defend, it is difficult. Maybe they don't have their best players, but they are wearing the English shirt and I am sure that means something," he said. "We had the ball more, we had chances but we could not breakthrough."
Even in the dour first half, England did get the ball into the net in the 32nd but Billy Knott was ruled offside. The second half opened up, yet both sides failed to convert scoring chances.
Egypt is in good position to reach the next stage after beating Panama thanks to Ahmed Hegazi's goal in the 67th minute.
"I'm upset because in the first half we missed too many chances," Egypt coach El Sayed Diaa said. "You miss chances and then you can end up allowing a goal any time. But I'm happy with the second half and because we are 90 percent into the second round."
Mexico also gave itself a shot with its victory over North Korea. A draw against England in the last group match will probably be enough to reach the round of 16.
"We are thinking about doing important things here," Mexico coach Juan Carlos Chavez said. "It is worthwhile to dream. We want to make the final."
Mexican football is on a high. The senior team won the Gold Cup, defeating the United States 4-2, and Mexico also won the Under-17 World Cup, defeating Uruguay 2-0 in the final. AP