Sep 272015
 
Can Alexandre Pato Earn a Brazil Recall?

“I want to return to the Seleção, that’s my aim. It (the squad) will be announced on Thursday, and I deserve to be in the national team. I am the best Brazilian striker, I don’t see anyone better. I can be there, I can help teammates, either as false nine, on the left, on the right, but it’s Dunga’s decision.” So said Alexandre Pato, shortly before Dunga announced his squad for World Cup qualifiers against […]

Sep 092015
 
Brazil Ease Past The USA in Yet Another Friendly Win

Brazil’s impressive record in friendly matches continued as they defeated a poor USA side by four goals to one in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The last friendly Brazil failed to win was way back in August 2013, when a Daniel Alves own goal gave Switzerland a win in Basel. The United States, or the USMNT as they’re more commonly known, were coming into this game off the back of a 2-1 win against Peru, but their hopes […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Dec 302014
 
Brazil Suffers Striker Shortage Despite South American Boom

A few weeks ago, Arsene Wenger opined that South America was the world’s citadel for top class strikers. With the likes of Luis Suarez, Sergio Aguero, Alexis Sanchez, Diego Costa, Radamel Falcao, Edinson Cavani and, if you want to stretch the definition of ‘striker’ a little, Lionel Messi setting a benchmark for forward play in recent years, Europe’s cupboard looks comparatively bare. Wenger elaborated: “Maybe it’s because in Europe street football has gone. In street […]

Dec 042014
 
From The Ritz to The Rubble - Brazilian Football's Inglorious Isolation

For a decade now, around this time of the year, the Footecon event has taken place in Rio.  Its tag line – ‘the main forum of the football industry in the Americas.’  It began life more than anything as a conference of coaches, and at heart that is what it remains, though over the years it has tagged on elements of business. Time to declare an interest; I have attended every edition of Footecon.  I […]