Apr 232015
 
Jefferson - The New Number One In Brazil's Travelling Circus

The late English showman Bob Monkhouse had at least one great line in his locker; “everyone laughed when I told them I was going to be a comedian,” he said.  “Well, they’re not laughing now!” It is a comment that Botafogo goalkeeper Jefferson may well appreciate.  An unorthodox part of his modest upbringing in Sao Vicente, on the outskirts of Santos, was a spell he spent in a circus as a clown’s assistant.  But he is well aware that his current task is no laughing matter.  Keeping goal for Brazil […]

Apr 122015
 
The Gringo and O Jogo Bonito

World Cup Classics – Brazilian Style It was 1977 when I fell in love with football, but in 1978 that love fast became an addiction thanks to the amazing World Cup in Argentina, complete with the ticker tape entrances and some truly great matches. I had decided to follow Scotland, not only as the only home UK nation to qualify, but more for being a budding Liverpool fan, Kenny Dalglish was in his pomp, with Graeme Souness behind him, it was an easy choice. What followed over the course of […]

Apr 112015
 
Philippe Coutinho - Strength of Character

For some reason, when people think about footballers they assume that they are different; that their talent arms them with more than a simple ability to control a ball better than the rest of us. It is (partly, at least) why so much is made when players slip up. People don’t expect footballers to want to go out partying, to want to smoke, to give in to temptation of any kind….they’re footballers, the luckiest people alive, playing a game for a living and representing the club as the fans have […]

Mar 312015
 
Éder - An Italian Made in Brazil

Goals have a miraculous tendency for clearing any criticism that had preceded them; they’re the perfect antidote to any negative (and forcefully put forward) observations. Goals have lifted Eder from one club to another as his never faltering strike rate attracted ever bigger clubs until, this season he was asked to prove his worth at the highest stage of Italian football. And a goal is how he answered his latest round of critics, those who had turned up their noses as Antonio Conte turned to him to help revive Italy’s […]

Mar 312015
 
Roberto Firmino Fires Brazil to Friendly Win v Chile

BRAZIL 1 R FIRMINO (72) CHILE 0 Roberto Firmino proved his worth once again, as partly experimental Brazil side defeated Chile to continue their excellent winning streak in non-competitive games. The run now stands at seventeen straight wins in friendly matches, but the first half of this game at the Emirates Stadium in London must have had Brazil coach Dunga thinking that this was the end of the streak. Jorge Sampaoli sent out a typically dynamic side, and Chile dominated the early exchanges. They pressed well and used the ball slightly […]

Mar 282015
 
France 1, Brazil 3 - Tactics From The Friendly Match

France – 1 Varane 21′ Brazil – 3 Oscar 40′, Neymar 57′, Luiz Gustavo 69′ This victory at the Stade de France was Brazil’s 16th consecutive friendly win, and one which saw Dunga’s men line up in a formation containing no real centre forward. The shape was a very fluid 4-2-2-2 formation, in which much of the play was focused down the left hand side. The roaming play of Neymar, Oscar, and occasionally Filipe Luis down this left flank, meant that a France side which looked impressive on paper often looked confused […]

Mar 242015
 
Tite's Tactics See Corinthians Back To Their Best

Corinthians have begun the new season in storming fashion and have a strong claim to be the best team in Brazil right now. They are unbeaten in all competitions with 12 wins and 3 draws, and have conceded just 6 goals along the way. More impressive than the numbers, however, is the manner of their performances: Ruthlessly efficient, combining stout defending with precise, targeted moments of beautiful and devastating counter-attacking football, they have rarely looked like they are anything less than 100% confident that they will win the game. This […]

Feb 262015
 
Neto Takes Risk In Looking For Next Big Move

Just as all comic book heroes need to have a flaw – because, frankly, the story would otherwise be too boring – so too did Brazil’s national team which would otherwise have been unbeatable.  And, for a long time, that flaw stood helplessly between the posts. By way of explanation, it used to be said that every child in Brazil wanted to play with the ball at his feet; to dribble his way up the pitch and score important goals.  No one grew up wanting to be a goalkeeper which […]

Feb 152015
 
Previewing Brazilian Clubs in the 2015 Copa Libertadores

The Copa Libertadores group stages start this week and the five Brazilian clubs taking part will look to improve on the country’s rather dismal showing in 2014. There were no Brazilian clubs in the last four, which, given Brazil’s economic supremacy over their South American brethren, represents a severe underperformance. As a paradigm, that’s the rough equivalent of all Premier League and La Liga teams striking out of the Champions League before the semi-final stage. Even in 2013, when Atlético Mineiro clawed their way to their maiden title, they were […]

Feb 152015
 
Pereira's Botafogo Should Aim to be Brazilian Football's Lone Star

As a Botafogo supporter, a Saint Garrincha fan, I wished the Lone Star had stayed in the Brazilian top division, the Brasileirão. However, I am not amongst the downtrodden rank who see relegation as a symbol of doom. Relegation is a lesson to any club; it says that the must prove they are better. Garrincha proved he was better than many, using his natural skill along with determination and joy. Botafogo have to do likewise, plain and simple. Strategically, I see many inescapable problems: no vibrant youth development, no money […]