Aug 112015
 
Futsal - Football From The Streets to The Halls

  There’s a video on YouTube which shows Liverpool and Brazil midfielder Philipe Coutinho getting hold of the ball, slaloming past three defenders and then slamming it past the goalkeeper.  It is a wonderful expression of skill and technical mastery; the fluidity of execution breathtaking. In this video, shown below, Coutinho isn’t in a Liverpool shirt.  Nor is he playing for any of his previous European clubs; Inter and Espanyol. Indeed, he isn’t even on […]

Aug 052015
 
Fluminense Hoping for Ronaldinho Revival in Rio

After a feckless spell in Mexico with Querétaro, Ronaldinho Gaúcho returns to Brazil with Fluminense this month. Having turned 35 in March, he is winding down the final years of his career. He has never been the most fastidious player when it comes to his physical preparation, in fact, at times he has treated training as an optional part of a footballer’s existence. His peerless quality has masked his devil may care attitude in the […]

Jul 282015
 
The Strength of Street Football & Brazil's Production Line

A few months ago a website wanted to pay me good money to go to Santos and write a profile piece on the team’s young striker Gabriel ‘Gabigol’ Barbosa.  And I ended up talking myself out of a lucrative commission. The idea started to lose appeal when he did little of note at the start of the year in the South American Under-20 Championships.  And it died a death when he was not even selected […]

Jul 232015
 
Brazil's Coaching Crisis - One Step Sideways, Two Steps Back

The contrast between two of the managers at June’s Copa America could hardly have been more obvious. First there was Dunga, the arch-paranoia-pragmatist, piling on extra central defenders – there were four on the pitch by the end of the game – to protect a slim lead against humble Venezuela, before his side’s paucity of attacking options sans Neymar was painfully revealed in defeat in its next game against Paraguay. On the other hand there […]

Jul 122015
 
Can Dunga's Brazil Recover from Copa America Failure?

For Dunga and Brazil, the qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup get underway in October, so the coach does not have much time to pick over the rubble of a pretty disastrous Copa América campaign. The Copa is usually considered a neat precursor to the qualifiers. It marks the beginning of a new cycle in the international calendar, and as such, many coaches use it as a laboratory to perfect the formula for the seasons […]

Jul 082015
 
Rodrigo Ely - AC Milan’s Brazilian Gamble

Despite all the barriers that FIFA and UEFA try to put up to prevent big clubs from stockpiling players, it is unlikely that they will ever be successful. The potential economic benefit is quite simply too large for rich (mainly) European sides not to try and benefit. They easily afford spending a couple of millions on a handful of prospects in the hope that one of them either comes good or can be sold on. […]

Jun 202015
 
Brazil 1, Serbia 2 (AET) - Under 20 World Cup Final

Brazil made it to the final of the 2015 U20 World Cup thanks to wins on penalties v Uruguay in the last 16, and Portugal in the quarter finals. A 5-0 thrashing of Senegal in the semi-final was the only time the side had really let loose as they always threaten to do, but they returned to their previous guise for this, often frustrating final match. The first chance came after ten minutes, when Boschilia whipped […]

Jun 072015
 
Brazil 2015 Copa América Preview - A One Man Team?

The Copa América is not as illustrious in South America as its continental cousin the European Championships. It falls in the proceeding summer after the World Cup and precedes the Olympic Games, which is seen as a superior prize. Any tournament in which the Americas pit their wits against European counterparts stirs the loins to a much greater degree than continental competition. The fact that there is no qualifying process for Copa América means that […]

May 212015
 
Roberto Firmino - At The Forefront of Neymar's Brazilian Backing Band

Since reassuming the reins of the Seleção last August, Dunga’s manifesto has contained two over-arching promises, both designed to clear up the mess of the previous administration, as manifestos are wont to do. Firstly, to expunge the memory of the game now known in common parlance as “the 7-1.” Dunga has made a good start with a perfect set of friendly results, but the Copa América in Chile would be the first proper band aid […]

May 202015
 
Rubinho - Juventus’ Invisible Brazilian

Goalkeepers are different. So wrote Brian Glanville and, as on most occasions, the wise man of football writing was right. You have to be different to be a goalkeeper. Your basic purpose – that of stopping goals from being scored – means that you are the only one allowed to break one of the most basic rules of the game, that of playing with your hand rather than your feet. But there’s more; goalkeepers are […]