Note: I have a lot of thoughts about Brazil’s insipid performance against Chile, but I think I’ll hold off writing an article about it until after the Venezuela match. The way I see it, when two qualifiers occur in quick succession, they’re in many respects two halves of a whole story. So I’ll wait until the second half unfolds before writing about it. In the meantime…
This article is not about Lucas Lima.
It’s not about Oscar either. Nevertheless, you’ll see those two names more than any other as we discuss one of the largest impediments Brazil has to resuming its place as the dominant superpower in world football.
That impediment is this:
Domestic players have consistently failed to become consistent contributors to the national team Continue reading
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
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
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.
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. Continue reading
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