Brazil World Cup Blog

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

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Brazil 1 Costa Rica 0 – Match Recap

Note: Rather than try to provide a detailed, comprehensive breakdown of every match, which I don’t have time for (and is covered through readers’ comments anyway) I’ve decided to try something new.  Starting now, match-specific articles will follow a specific template containing the following sections: Starting XI, substitutions, Pre-Match Storylines, Moments of Note, Tactical  Themes, and Five-a-Side (five players who stood out to me, either positively or negatively.)  In this way, I can hopefully:

  • Write recaps more consistently
  • Cover the broad strokes so that anyone who didn’t watch the match would still get a feel for how it unfolded
  • Enable individual readers to dive deeper into the details with their comments

So without further ado… Continue reading

Rafinha: High floor or low ceiling? (Plus a few thoughts on Brazil’s midfield)

Back in March, when Brazil beat France, many of us remarked how Dunga’s side showed an increased commitment to building from the back, to using triangles and short combinations to work the ball down the length of the pitch. It was a welcome sign. Continue reading

Personal Update from Black Matt

I wish I could say you’re about to read a 3,000+ word article on, say, how Brazil defended set pieces in the Copa America, but you’re not.

As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve been MIA since the Copa America ended.  No, I didn’t fall into a deep-seeded depression at another Brazilian humiliation, and I didn’t lose my passion for the Selecao, either.  The truth is that life has really gotten in the way lately, and it’s prevented me from spending more time doing the things I love…like this site.  Continue reading

What Neymar’s suspension means for Brazil

Brazil has nowhere left to hide.

The news came down yesterday that Neymar has been suspended for four matches. There are lots of things we could talk about in light of this unwelcome development. We could talk about Neymar’s attitude. We could talk about whether the punishment fits the crime. But let’s put those things aside for a little bit and talk about something that, in the grand scheme of things, is much more important. Continue reading

Carpe Diem: How Roberto Firmino Seized the Day to Earn a Spot on Brazil’s Roster

Long before the poet Horace wrote the words “carpe diem”, Dunga said them first. You see, in a previous life, Dunga was a Roman Centurion, noted as much for his disdain of the papyrus tabloid writers of the day as for his prowess at winning battles.

Dunga Carpe Diem

The modern-day Dunga has always loved those who seize the day – those players who, when given a chance to represent their country, seize the opportunity by the throat and squeeze. It’s both a strength and a weakness in him. A strength because it incentivizes players to give the maximum amount of effort whenever they don the yellow shirt. A weakness because it leads directly to Dunga’s love affair with first impressions…a love that can lead to inexplicable decisions down the road.

But this article isn’t about Dunga. It’s about a player who has recently seized the day, not just once, but thrice. I’m talking, of course, about Roberto Firmino Barbosa de Oliveira.[1] Continue reading

Dunga Names Brazil Squad for Copa America

Dunga named his 23-man squad for the Copa America today.  The big news is that Seleção stalwart Oscar has been left out, ostensibly to recover from an injury picked up in training.   Continue reading

The Playmakers: Philippe Coutinho

An undated page in one of my many notebooks (each filled with musings and observations sometimes related to football) says this:

Coutinho – space is the place!

I’m not sure entirely when or why I wrote that. But whatever the reason, the words came back to me while watching Coutinho’s recent performance against Manchester City. Because it’s true – for Philippe Coutinho, space is indeed the place. Continue reading

Brazil vs France/Chile Match Thread

Brazil play France tomorrow at the Stade de France in Paris.  On Sunday, Brazil take on Chile at the Emirates in London.  You can use this thread to comment on both matches.  Continue reading

Guest Article: “What’s Next for Number 9? A Look at the Promising Strikers of the Brazilian League” by Zetona

Note from Black Matt:  this is the first guest article I’ve ever put up since taking over the Brazil World Cup Blog a few years ago.  I’m thrilled that the author is our very own Zetona, who has become our resident expert on the Brazilian domestic game.  (His overall knowledge of world football, of course, is equally extensive.) 

True story: a few weeks ago, when Zetona sent me his first draft, I opened it up intending to just glance at it briefly, then return to it when I had more time.  Fifteen minutes later, I had read the whole thing twice, having been hooked from the opening sentence.  I’m sure you will all enjoy reading Zetona’s thoughts as much as I did. 

So without further ado…take it away, Zetona!  Continue reading

Seleção Legends: Rivaldo

With the “Seleção Legends” series, I want to look back on some of the greats of Brazilian football. It’s similar to my “Seleção Classics” series, except it will focus on individual players rather than matches. To kick things off, let’s take a look at one of the most fascinating players in Seleção history: Rivaldo. Continue reading

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