Thursday, June 20, 2013

Brazil beats Mexico but there is louder message in Italy blasting Japan

Neymar is pure class and very much immature. He has a lot to learn and some distance to cover to the levels of Lionel Messi. That is as far as the over game is concerned but his technique is exquisite. Tactically he will surely mature and be a better player, hopefully. He reminds one of the young 'Iron' Mike Tyson, Raw and Uncut.

It is sometimes too early for these youngsters to get then hype and then they live under the shadow of expectation under-delivering yet being idolised like Wayne Rooney, whose roof was never reached and he stagnated in growth but we keep singing praises for his glimpses of a what might have been.

Brazil beat Mexico despite a spirited performance of one of my favourite players in the world today (well since 2009), Giovanni Dos Santos. It was that pure class of the 21 year old Neymar that was hugely the difference. Dani Alves received a pass after some fancy footwork on the right, delivered a cross that was deflected high.
Now, this is the coaching point part.

Neymar had to orient himself to locate the goal, and his bearing changed every second as his target had a barrier, the goalkeeper. There was men attending to him and hungering for the same ball. The Brazilian had to make his run, simultaneously keeping his eyes on the ball whose trajectory was not completely defined. Despite physical contact that could put him off, he gained his balance, arms wide, making a good selection of the controlling surface, shepherding the ball into space with his chest, planting the non-kicking football slightly behind the possible dropping point of the ball, curling his body over to lean forward and hitting that ball hard midway through its centre at the top half. His angle and power had to be right and the rest is history.

That goal can be crudely mirror-imaged with the first of the tournament, where that came from his left, but was chested by a team-mate onto his path. He cannoned the ball, then with his right foot. The technique of striking the ball was wholly similar. Hi move to Barcelona has made people start talking about his combination with Messi but bot because of the goals.

Neymar received the ball on the left and quickly left a defender by his first positive touch, sweeping past the other two by his acceleration before his sudden change of pace and direction in the box left two more defenders for dead. He laid the ball across for Jo to finish. That was class. That was the match in brief. It is the speed and finish that is frightening and with Messi, that will be more than a job and a half to contain an attack.     

Many people did not see Japan beating Italy. That changed with the first penalty of the match converted by Honda and the spectacular Kagawa special. Frankly, it was not the goals that swayed the votes, but the gusty performance that was full of self belief and zeal to win. The Italians were themselves more than surprised. They were afraid, very afraid. With half-time approaching, anyone stopping Pirlo and Mario Balotelli could be excused for celebrating but that was a little too much too early.

Pirlo sent in a corner kick that was converted by the head. From there on, thing were never going to be the same for the Asians. Some players thought they could do it while others thought, maybe not. Even from the same positive players, the doubts start to fly in the head and that is exactly what the Europeans thrive on.
The penalty converted by Balotelli and the own goal wrote the beginning of the end of a Cinderella story in the making. That winner was always coming after that and it was more than a win but a statement to say Italy mean business. For many, they were dead and burried, and maybe so, but if they can rise to see another day be very afraid.

It was value for money to see so many goals but the Neymar strike, priceless!