Brazil World Cup Blog

News, analysis, history, and discussion on all things Verde-Amarela

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The comments for the last post have been disabled for some reason, so here’s a new thread to use.

Seleção Storylines To Watch In 2019

Happy New Year, everyone!

For not being a (men’s senior level) World Cup year, 2019 is shaping up to be as hectic as it gets in international football. If all goes well we can look forward to cheering on Brazilian teams in up to seven international tournaments over the course of the year, and in between we’ll have a wealth of club and friendly games, transfer sagas, and the beginning of 2022 World Cup qualifying (!) to look forward to. 

Here are a few of the biggest Brazilian football stories to keep an eye on in 2019:

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The official blows his whistle and we are ready to resume play

The internet keeps trying to kill this site, but it refuses to die.  

First off, I apologize for the unscheduled hiatus.  Frankly, I still don’t know what happened.  One day the site was working fine; the next day, it’s not.  I didn’t change anything in the meantime, nor forget to renew anything, committed no heinous acts offensive to a higher power, etc. etc.  

For some reason, the site’s domain (brazilworldcupblog.net) ceased pointing to the site itself.  But that wasn’t the real problem.  The real problem was that the site itself was just…gone.  When I logged into my GoDaddy account, it was as if it never existed in the first place.

Tech support wasn’t any help, so I decided to do what I had intended to do for some time: Move to a new host.  Which I did.  

As far as I can tell, the site is largely back up and running now.  I had to create a new banner, as you can see, as I no longer had the files for the old one.  I’m not sure what I think of it, and may indeed create something better soon.  Let me know if you like this one and want it to stay.  

Disqus should be functioning – if not now, then soon.  But all the old content is gone.  I still have most of the original drafts, so I should be able to re-post most of it at some point, but it’s not a high priority item for me.  

What about the future of the site?  Good question.  

Prior to the World Cup, Zetona and I had some talks about what we wanted to do with it.  Unfortunately, the tournament itself largely sapped most of my enthusiasm for the Seleção, and life itself demanded my attention.  (As an aside, it’s been a good year for me.  I’ve sold four short stories,  got a raise, and one of my sons made the Premier team for the oldest, and in my opinion, best, club in my state.)  

At some point soon, Z and I need to resume those talks.  In the meantime, rest assured that I will continue paying for this site’s existence, and will do my best to contribute the odd article here and there.  Zetona, of course, is amazing, so please go check out his other work.  

One thing that will happen soon: I’m going to launch some kind of GoFundMe or Patreon for the site.  Many of you have very kindly volunteered to contribute already, which is EXTREMELY appreciated.  The site itself, of course, will always be free.  (And as free of ads as possible.)

Anyway, that’s all for – oh, I probably should make this at least SOMEWHAT football related, shouldn’t I?  Well, here are some random thoughts I’ve had over the past few weeks:

  1.  Fred is not, not, NOT national team material.  He’s ponderous on the ball and ineffective off it.  I’ve never been a fan of his, but I did think he deserved a longer look from Tite.  I no longer think so.  Arthur, Allan, and Casemiro should be Brazil’s midfield trio moving forward, at least through the Copa America.  
  2. On a related note, I’m…intrigued by Richarlison.  He’s a tremendous athlete, and while he sometimes looks like a giraffe on the ball, he’s fearless and seeks to impose himself on the game.  I’m not saying he should be a starter or that he’s a capital g Guarantee, but he’s interesting.  
  3. Been very pleased with Neymar’s play of late.  On a related note, the NEYMAR CENTRALIZATION SOCIETY is still accepting new members.  All inquiries should be sent care of Saul Goodman.  
  4. For…sheesh, decades now, the midfield was Brazil’s big question mark.  It still is a question mark, but I think the unthinkable may be happening: Brazil’s biggest weakness is on the wings.  Our full-back situation looks increasingly dire to me.  
  5. I don’t love watching PSG (outside of Neymar), but Thomas Tuchel’s 3-4-3/4-4-2 hybrid is smart…and I think it would be interesting to see Tite try something similar.  
3-3-2-2 with the ball
4-4-2 without the ball

We know this isn’t going to happen.  But it’s fun to think about.  

Okay, that really is all for now.  Let me know if you run into any problems with the new site.  Thanks again for your patience.  Tchau!  

Grêmio vs. Atlético-PR: The Most Interesting Coaching Battle Brazil Has Seen In Years

Yesterday, Grêmio and Atlético Paranaense played out a 0-0 draw in the Brazilian league.

So? Why does this warrant a whole article, Zetona? 

To answer that, we have to keep in mind the current coaching situation in the Brazilian league.

Good coaching, let alone attack-oriented coaching, has been something of a rarity in Brazil recently, which owes to a whole number of factors: a large number of “big”, historically successful clubs compete for a small number of actual prizes and titles, which means fans often have unrealistic expectations for success; many clubs give fans opportunities to buy memberships and vote on management roles, which gives them a level of influence that, if they’re impatient or overly demanding, can pressure the management into rapid-fire coaching changes; the resultant culture means clubs move for proven quick-fix coaches instead of trying to implement long-term plans to grow and develop their football, which usually just means hiring Joel Santana for the fifth time; and the CBF’s coaching licenses aren’t valid in Europe, which keeps Brazilian coaches out of big-ticket jobs abroad.

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Brazil vs. Germany Thread

Brazil vs. Germany

Olympiastadion, Berlin, March 27, 2018

Kickoff: 2:45 PM EDT / 3:45 PM BRT / 6:45 PM GMT

US TV: None (the hell?); Streaming: WatchESPN

Starting Lineup: Alisson; Dani Alves (C), Thiago Silva, Miranda, Marcelo; Casemiro, Paulinho, Fernandinho; Willian, Gabriel Jesus, Coutinho.

Zetona’s Keys to the Game™:

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Four Months Out From The World Cup, Where Are We?

Due to the site crash, old articles like this one may not display videos and images correctly. Apologies for the inconvenience.

It’s World Cup year!

It’s still weird to say that. It feels like there’s remarkably little hype surrounding the coming tournament, even though we’re just a few months out. Living in the United State probably skews that perspective, given how the USMNT hilariously wasted their chance to go to the World Cup. But here on the blog, even though Brazil is arguably in better shape than in 2014 or 2010, there’s just not a lot of hype. The 7-1 loss to Germany in 2014 seems to have instilled a newfound trepidation, a fear that Brazil still has yet to fully overcome the faults that made that embarrassment possible and that something similar might happen again.

With all that said, today’s subject is a simple one. We’re four months out from the World Cup, more or less, and probably about three months out from Tite announcing his final squad for the tournament. One last pair of friendlies, against Russia and Germany, looms at the end of March. Tite and his staff are embarkingon what very well might be their last round of scouting before the tournament this month. We know, if not his exact selections, roughly what his team will look like. Four months out, where does that leave us? I’m going to go through it position-by-position, building from the back.

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What Can We Learn From This Week’s Friendlies?

This week, Brazil plays two friendlies—Friday against Japan in Lille (7 AM EDT / 12 PM GMT), and then Tuesday against England in London (3 PM EDT / 8 PM GMT). These are Brazil’s last games until March, and the second-to-last chance Tite has to observe players before he announces his World Cup squad. Unfortunately, he called up a truly dour list of 25 players. If you need a refresher, here they are, copied directly from the CBF website:

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The Top 10 Brazilian Moves Of The Transfer Window

Due to the site crash, old articles like this one may not display videos and images correctly. Apologies for the inconvenience.

The most bonkers transfer window I can remember slammed shut a couple of weeks ago, and now it’s time to pick up the pieces. Since this is the Brazil World Cup Blog, I will, naturally, examine the most interesting moves for Brazilian players. Yes, our very own BrazilStats already wrote a far timelier list, but our metrics of what constitutes a top transfer are pretty different—not to mention that I’ve also included a second, equally consequential set of players: the biggest non-transfers of the window.

Without any further ado:

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What We Learned From Brazil’s Recent Coaches, Part 2: Rogério Micale and the Olympics

Due to the site crash, old articles like this one may not display videos and images correctly. Apologies for the inconvenience.

It has now been a year since Brazil won the gold medal in men’s football at the Olympic Games. It was one of Brazil’s most significant footballing accomplishments in years, particularly since Olympic gold was the last mountain the Seleção had yet to scale.

And yet, a year down the line, you can argue that it didn’t change a whole lot—at least, not for the better. Coach Rogério Micale showed that long-term preparation, with regular U-23 friendlies to build a cohesive team, could create a winning team capable of playing stylish football; he was fired six months later. Of the breakout stars from that tournament, only Gabriel Jesus really used it as a springboard to Seleção success; players like Luan, Felipe Anderson, Rodrigo Caio and Gabigol spent the ensuing year either underappreciated at the national team level, stagnating at a club that doesn’t appreciate their potential, or both. Weverton is still a regular selection in senior team squads, for some ungodly reason.

That’s not what I plan to argue here, though. Perhaps the Olympic campaign has yet to serve as the referendum on Brazilian football or the springboard for players’ careers that we hoped it might. Even so, it did a world of good for several of Brazil’s key players, gave fans and players some much-needed confidence about the Seleção’s abilities going forward, and taught some important (and occasionally sobering) lessons about tactics and team setup.

Originally, this was meant to be part two of a large-scale look at the work and legacy of Brazil’s recent coaches. It’s been long enough that that feels kind of quaint now, especially since Rogério Micale, naturally the focus of this second part has been fired. Still, I’m going to keep a similar format to part one—which you can find here—and explore the main things we learned or benefited from thanks to the Olympic campaign. Rather than group the lessons by positives or negatives this time, I’m going to start with what we gained from individual players and widen out into the collective and tactical aspects of the team.

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How’d That Wish List Turn Out? A Review of 2016 in Brazilian Football

Note from Black Matt: Many thanks again to Zetona who continues to step up as I take what basically amounts to a leave of absence from the blog.  Take it away, Z.

A year ago, I wrote a wish list of what I’d like to see happen in Brazilian football in 2016. After one of the most eventful, tumultuous years in the national team’s history, it’s time to look back and see how much of that list came to fruition—and to throw out some end-of-year rewards!

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