Friday, July 11, 2014

2014 Brazil Fifa World Cup: The best form of defence is.......?

How often do you hear that practice makes perfect? In truth, it makes permanent. Attack is the best form of attack and defence is the best form of defence. Nothing less and nothing more. Never ever confuse the two.

There was clearly plenty to do in Brazil on that fateful night when Brazil lost a record 7-1 to Germany, starting at the stadium as this busy man proves.

 
This is how it happened in pictures; Marcelo entirely forgot he was a defender as soon as the 4th minute after a Brazilian scoring chance, as seen here with the ball out of play. He was too far up the pitch and had the ball thrown over him.

So advanced were Brazil that Dante sprinted back to cover the damage done on that gap attack by Germany. David Luiz managed to invest in a successful tackle on Miroslav Klose.
After five minutes Brazil were so far forward that there was no one around an under-pressure Fernandinho to receive a pass other than five Germans. He gave the ball away.

There was total lack of protection for defence as seen here. Three Germans were completely free in the middle after four minutes.


Brazil were caught on the break and gave their opponents a ridiculous amount of space after just eight minutes. Hulk and Marcelo provided Germany with an attacking corridor on that flank, as the former never defended and the later played off-position.
 
The ultimate defensive chaos was highlighted in the seventh minute as the entire Brazil team desperately ran backwards after a neat but unremarkable Sami Khedira turn in the centre circle.
The left-back area was completely exposed as everyone else ran towards Julio Cesar and looking over their shoulders in blind panic in the 9th minute. Germany players were in twos and sometimes in threes. This made them receive the ball and suddenly outnumber the Brazilians at that point, which was always around the edge of the penalty area. Brazil conceded a corner shortly afterwards, then sloppy marking allowed Thomas Muller to score the game’s first goal.

Klose made it 2-0 twelve minutes later. It took 108 seconds for another goal to make it 3-0. Thereafter, the hosts lost rhythm and concentration, becoming ever more vulnerable and clueless. Germany made it 4-0 just 50 seconds after making it 3-0.

There was something frighteningly predatory and calculated about that goal, Toni Kroos and Samir Khedira trading passes again and again, all the time reducing the percentage chance that a goal wasn’t about to happen. The midfield trio were clearly instructed to stay tight to each other as shown by the blue triangle, and very importantly, for the some of the half, the central defenders stayed where defenders are supposed to be, as seen pointed by the red arrows.
Cesar shoulders some blame for  pushing the ball back to Klose to get a second bite of the cherry. He was beaten at the near post by and André Schürrle

Phil Scolari did not change anything until the second half, swapping Bernard and Hulk on the right and left wings, meaning Marcelo had a more disciplined wide player in front of him who was not going to give the ball away every time he got it.

 
David Luiz passed the ball horribly wrong. He made one absolutely brilliant 70-yard cross field pass in the early stages of the game, but all this seemed to do was give Luiz false confidence. Later, Luiz even managed to make five yard passes difficult for his team-mates, as seen here.


Without the centre back, Thiago Silva, telling his team-mates to wise up and stop being disorganised, the defence and midfield completely fell apart, and the strikers, and the goalkeeper. It was a disastrous calamity where a footballing super power tumbled like a deck of cards. A catastrophe; a team that lacked leadership and one that failed to look beyond the first goal. Their body language was that of frightened boys and they coiled into their shells and stayed retracted the entire match.
 
(Special thanks to T. Gibbs)