Brazil may as well be on course to win this year’s Confederation Cup and Fifa World Cup double. This is in sharp contrast with their fluke 3-0 win over Japan last night. Let me say first why that win was a fluke and then the reason why they may win both trophies.
The victory was courtesy of total naivety of the Asians, and nothing to do with the prowess of the Confed Cup holding gladiators. All the goals were scored in the concentration-lapse windows of minutes after and before restarts. In any case, it was within the parameters of the match being played and all goals count. On another day and at another time, the same goals, all three, could have been easily scored by anyone or by the same token, avoided.
That is not what one expects from Brazil. The Celestiao are known to push the ball around and dominate their matches until they subdue their foes tactically - exactly what did not happen. The South Americans depended on the stage fright of the Japanese for that victory.
Japan walked in there hoping to take matters easy and then compete when the match was ripe. They did not live to see that moment. Before half the team had touched the ball, there was a goal. It was a super goal by Neymar, given the inexperience of the youngster and accuracy of the strike, but how it came by was shocking.
A case of easy loss of possession by Japan and a poor ‘chest’ control by Fred, probably a handball, led the ball to drop in the path of a charging Barcelona-bound Neymar who took a volley in his stride, connecting well to unleash a slightly curled shot to the far post from outside the box.
Let me spare you the details. The thing is, it was just 3 minutes after kick-off. There was sterility in terms of goals and performance until half-time. Again, within 3 minutes of the restart, Japan were still sleeping and Brazil pounced. Without duplicating myself, there was sterility in terms of goals and performance until full-time, the 90th minute. Again, Japan slumbered and Brazil, again pounced in almost 3 minutes of injury time.
Both sets of coaching stuff will not be happy. Fillipe Scolari of Brazil will be wondering; what if the visitors stayed awake from start to finish. The visitors’ mentor will curse his theory of playing a waiting game. He had hoped to match Brazil’s play in the middle of the park but the ball was played on the periphery of the Garrencha Stadium pitch.
Just for a picture, the ball came from the right, the position of Dani Alves, to Julio Ceaser and/or David Luiz, to Marcelo on the left and then Neymar to Fred at the front and then to Oscar on the left and Dani Alves again, leaving a void in the middle. That sequence would reverse itself once in a while all night, eliminating Honda and Kagawa's performance, Japan’s most influential players.
That fact makes Brazilians very dangerous. They are not blessed with an array of talent and many of their current squad players are over-rated, save for Marcelo, Alves and David Luiz. I know you think Oscar is top-notch but I don’t buy that; not yet. Julio Ceaser plays for a relegated team in the English Premiership and that is not a world-class performer. Therefore, what makes them an item?
It is the composition of their technical team. Scolari has decades of national team and international football experience in his time with the same team, Portugal and Chelsea. He has a Fifa World Cup medal around his neck. What he did was exceptionally clever and courageous, to romp up an even more experienced mentor in Carlos Alberto Parreira. For the sake of his status, they changed his title to Technical Coordinator and not Assistant coach. Parriera is the most experienced coach in the world at this level, having more Fifa World Cup appearances than any coach and a winners’ medal too.
Besides the accolades and the decorated CVs, these guys are shrewd. They are the world’s best. Not that they can make cows play football, but with the average players they have, Brazil is genuine contenders for the historic double. They become the last team anyone would choose to play. It would be a bonus if Neymar comes to the party as he almost did last night. There are good signs he will.
Besides the home soil advantage with their fans’ support, the carnival atmosphere and celebrations, the familiar playing grounds, family and friends and language, the pride, the status, players like Neymar trying to prove a point, that technical team of Scolari and Parreira with the richcombined experiences and World Cup appearances and victories, the Brazil brand is one to bank on.
This is besides the crazy statistical data of Fifa World Cups, Confed, and regional championships, nor the over 10000 professionals playing overseas, 6000 football teams and over 16 million registered players they can choose from their starting eleven. There is over 160 million Brazilians anyway but that is just numbers too.