It’s been well over a month since Brazil won its first Olympic gold medal. Sadly, I haven’t had a chance to write about the tournament until now, when fans of the Seleção have already moved on to more pressing matters.
There were a lot of positives to take from Rogerio Micale’s side, including but not limited to: Continue reading
This is the second article in a series I’m calling “The Great Brazilian Autopsy.” In each article, we are going to dissect the corpse that is the Brazilian Men’s National Team, less to determine cause of death and more to determine what can be done to revive the body. Continue reading
As most readers know, I’ve been watching Brazil for a little over 25 years now. In all that time, this edition of the Seleção might be the least inspiring, least star-studded, least talented side I’ve ever seen taken to a major tournament. Some of you can probably name worse ones. The 2001 Copa America squad had previously held the dubious title of “worst tournament Seleção” of my lifetime, but that team had everything stacked against it. Brazil’s best players, without exception, were all either injured or being rested, and Scolari had just barely taken charge.
The original team Dunga selected is probably better than that one, but it’s close. For this and many other reasons, I’ve had a hard time working up much interest in the Centenario.
Until this week. Continue reading
It’s late, I’m tired, and more than a little frustrated with the Seleção at the moment, so this might not be the most coherent article I’ve ever written. But I do have a few thoughts on the match that I want to share, as I’ll be out for the rest of the week and won’t have a chance later.
So without further ado… Continue reading
If you haven’t already, make sure you read Lisgarfund’s excellent breakdown on Brazil vs Holland from the 1998 World Cup. In the meantime, here’s a little amuse-bouche to whet your appetite for Brazil vs Uruguay later tonight. (A 3,000+ word amuse-bouche, because I’m addicted to words, apparently.) Continue reading
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
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
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