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
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
From an aesthetic standpoint, the legacy of Brazilian football will be forever defined by words like samba and jogo bonito; by moments like Pele’s sombrero goal in the ’58 World Cup, or Carlos Alberto’s wonderful team goal that served as the final exclamation point to the 1970 tournament. Looking at it more analytically, Brazil’s legacy is all about the innovations they’ve made to football: defensive organization, team formation, individual expression, and collective interplay. But there’s one other innovation Brazil perhaps do not get enough credit for: the attacking full-back. Continue reading