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Two Very Strong Sides Of The Brazilian Coin

The time for waiting has gone. They have arrived. Sorry Spain, with your ageing squad. Sorry England , who seem to have the next golden generation at hand with Wilshere at the helm. Sorry Argentina, who once again have the world’s best player and yet struggle to surround him with anything spectacular. Sorry Uruguay, who’ve fallen into a world-renowned striking force. Sorry anyone who had any aspirations to doing something in 2014 in Rio. Brazil are back.

There is a yellow and green tint to my writing so I might ignore non-wins to England and Switzerland, but I am afforded this luxury since I am of the only 5 time World Cup champions’ land (that’s a gripe I have with the English language, we have to come up with something better than quintuple. It’s not snazzy. I know you never expected someone to win this much when you created the sport but get to work on something better than sextuple for next year, please).

After a shambolic post Ronaldo (the number 9) era, Brazil have managed to bring in a whole side of talented, young, technically gifted individuals. The one area they are weak is at goalkeeper, which is currently filled by Julio Cesar (notice: Julio Cesar is our weakness), who has just been confirmed as the only guarantee for 2014.

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To the right, I’ve created a team comprised of Julio Cesar and the Brazil bench. This team would give anyone a run for their money. The strength this Brazil side has is an amazing depth on the wings and in midfield. Where players like Lucas (PSG), Bernard (Shakhtar Donetsk), Fernandinho (£40 million Man City signing) and Hernanes (Lazio) are all bench options. Where else would you see a key member of league-champion PSG sitting on the bench? Maybe in that swollen Spanish midfield, but where else? The players putting them on the bench are even better.

With Felipão instilling a blitz defending mentality, Brazil can bully their opponent by being faster and more decisive whenever the opposition has the ball. The speed on the pitch allows them to do so and get many counter-attacking opportunities that are clinically executed by very fast dribbling and passing. Normally resulting in a good opportunity for the striker, the other winger or a midfield buddy coming into the box.

There is a backbone to the team, a rugged defensive mentality, and his name is Luiz Gustavo. He does the dirty work. Playing a role similar to Busquets, the bully for the artists with the ball. The defensive midfield solidity afforded by him, through his responsible tactical positioning, allows Brazil’s other midfielders to wreck havoc further forward like Ramires, who likes leaving the middle and go play triangle passes on the right wing and Paulinho, who likes to bomb into the box late. The fact that Felipão has instilled this defensive responsibility into the formation allows the creative players at the back to surge forward as Marcelo and Dani Alves probably would anyway, but now they have cover.

The interesting thing about this Brazilian team is that they fail to field a striker, at the number 9 position, that the world would know and fear. Normally the staple of a Brazilian winning team, this version uses the speed and skill around the box instead and feeds the central striker with many opportunities.

However the two players manning the position, who score more frequently than Robin Thicke, are European rejects. Do the names Jô and Fred mean anything to anyone over here? Jô spent a few lack luster years roaming around Europe and Russia, finally to come back to Brazil and team up with Ronaldinho Gaucho. Fred after having an injury-plagued few years destroy a promising Lyon career, came to Fluminense (my team) and helped us win the national title.

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Then there is the man you don’t want to get angry. Currently hurt and playing all the way over in Russia after being hounded by Chelsea and several Italian clubs, Hulk has been pushed by the emergence of recent Shakhtar acquisition Bernard. But Hulk should still have a run of games to show he deserves the spot. Deceivingly two footed, playing on the right wing he can bring the ball inside to his preferred left cannon and become an immediate threat from distance. His ability to pull inside or go to the touchline provides an opportunity of hesitation by the defender which Hulk manages to use to his advantage.

So there you have it. On the right,  The Seleção by Felipão:

I feel like I missed out looking into someone. Oh yeah. There’s a guy who plays second fiddle to Messi. Think he’s called Neymar. Shouldn’t do much.

I’ll leave you with a saying we have in Brazil:

The English invented football. Brazilians perfected it.

Xavier Ribeiro

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