Brazil beat Mexico 2-1 in friendly. Lucky?

Ronaldinho inspired the Brazil comeback (Mowa Press)

Brazil beat Mexico 2-1 in a friendly match in a place called Torreón last night. I didn’t watch the match but from all accounts it was a great escape for Brazil and Mano Menezes. Was it a lucky escape?

Of course, the match was only a friendly so the only thing that was really at stake was public opinion. But in any great footballing country – Brazil is obviously no exception – that counts for a lot. And public opinion on the Mano Menezes era has been steadily eroding since he took charge after the World Cup last year.

It started so well: Brazil fielded their young guns in a friendly match against the USA in August last year and won 2-0; Neymar made his debut and scored; Ganso made his debut and played very well.

But ever since that day, this team has gotten steadily worse. First came a defeat to France (after Hernanes’ kung foo exploits), then a defeat to Argentina (never a good thing but excused due to Sr. Messi’s great last minute goal), then a draw at home to a under strength Holland, then an terrible exit and showing at the Copa America, then a battering by Germany.

Hopes were briefly raised following a 2-0 win against Argentina. But put that into perspective: Brazil’s home based players were playing against Argentina’s home based players. The Brazilian Championship is far stronger than the Argentine Championship thanks to a stronger currency and economy. The fact is, after this brief glimmer of hope, Brazil produced a dismally boring and lame performance against Costa Rica last week.

Last night, Brazil fell behind on 9 minutes thanks to a David Luiz own goal. Things got a whole lot worse on 44 minutes when Dani Alvez gave away a penalty and was sent off. In that intervening period, the match report doesn’t mention any Brazil chances. Jefferson saved the penalty and celebrated it like he’d won the world cup (that was good to see at least).

It sounds like Brazil played better in the second half considering they only had 10 men: they dominated possession with Ronaldinho instrumental but couldn’t find space and time near their opponents’ goal. It was the Mexicans who apparently created the better chances.

The result will give Mano Menezes some more breathing space but not much, surely. I don’t think that anybody in Brazil will be getting too excited about this result. Does this victory reflect positively on his coaching skills in any way? To me it seems like Brazil’s raw talent – something learned on the streets of Porto Alegre and Rio and not Mano Menezes’ tactics board – is what won them this one. I am talking about brilliance from Ronaldinho and Marcelo of course. See the short highlights clip below.

If you stayed up to watch the game wherever in the world you are, we’d (me + other readers) love to read your comments. Another impression I am getting is that the public are all fed up with Mano Menezes but he still seems to be getting some support from the press and media. Is that true Denis/Gil?

Jefferson; Daniel Alves, David Luiz, Thiago Silva and Marcelo; Lucas Leiva, Fernandinho and Ronaldinho Gaúcho (Hernanes); Lucas (Adriano), Neymar (Elias) and Hulk (Jonas).

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14 thoughts on “Brazil beat Mexico 2-1 in friendly. Lucky?

  1. I do agree with your comments from the perspective of the team from the last 12 months but think after watching the match last night that some of the younger players/squad have turned the corner.

    There seemed to be a real commitment to the task and they stuck to the plan. A great effort of digging in deep with playing the entire second half down a player and Marcelo’s goal was a microcosm of the way the fullbacks had to approach the seocnd half, choosing the right time to go forward. Lucas Leiva had a surprinsgly true leadership performance and Thiago Silva was rock solid.

    My one slight would be to question why everything had to go through Ronaldinho. Can Brazil afford to have their attacking plan rest on a player who’s career is declining/ageing? Maybe Menezes can use the next year figuring out which player could fulfill this role rather than try win the public opinion and press over by bringing Ronaldinho back into the picture.

    • Interesting thoughts Ruairi. I suppose you do have to give the coach some credit for instilling that commitment to see a team with 10 men come back away from home, even if it was thanks to some individual brilliance. So some positives, yes. But what about the first half – if it wasn’t for Jefferson they would have been 2 nil down with their full strength team?

      I am personally delighted to see Ronaldinho back in such good form. Ganso would be the obvious choice. In fact, if Ganso didn’t keep getting injured so much, maybe Ronaldinho would never have got the call in the first place. But on current form and fitness Ronaldinho is miles ahead of sicknote Ganso.

      Good news that Marcelo and Mano have put their differences aside following that email nonsense. Marcelo is another class to André Santos.

      The only explanation I have for Fernandinho’s continued presence in the side is that he has the same agent as Mano Menezes. Just like André Santos who got his UK work permit thanks to all his Mano call-ups. Nobody other than bloggers in Brazil draw attention to this….

  2. Ok first off any time you play in Mexico city your going to have to deal with very important variables. 1) the elevation 2) the mexican fans.
    Both proved to be a pain in the ass for both teams. I saw long ball after long ball miss it’s mark. Ronadino adjusted his cross hairs in the second half and it proved deadly for Mexico. I think that in general Brazil controlled the game but with such a mix of young talent they didn’t settle in to their normal rythm. No Lucio, no Maicon, KaKa and with Alves ejected kinda disrupted momentum. But in addition Mexicos keeper had an excellent performance. Is it me or are the brazillians infusing a European aspect to boost their game? Less 1 touch ball and more clinical approach seemed to be the name of the game. Overall a good game considering it was 10 v 11. Vivia Brazil!!!!!

  3. I failed to state in my last comment that we also need to tale into consideration the Mexican squad an in general the progress that Mexico has made in the last decade. They have a large number of players in Europe now and as such are becomming a more credible and difficult advasary on the international level. Their style of play is still very chaotic and much to fast passed for therir skill level but they are in plain terms getting better.

    Viva Brazil!!!

  4. I completely agree about Brazil being lucky yesterday. My company is based around older Brazilian soccer beliefs. I’m almost embarrassed of how Brazil has played over the last few years. This is not who and what I love and believe in. I miss joga bonito. With most of these players and coaching staff there is no way they will win 2014. Spain will murder them. http://www.cntrcircle.com

    • Yeah, sadly you have a point. Don’t despair! Unless things start getting better, Mano Menezes will get the boot and Big Phil will come back to save the day in 2014 (mind you he’s having a shocking time at Palmeiras these days).

  5. agree that brazil is struggling in their cohesiveness ,however they dug in deep against mexico and stunned them,i watched the game on espn2 and one of the announcers was so pro mexico it was hard to take,and the mexicans imo were super aggresive considering a friendly,they have been playing great as of late,and i new that brazil was going to be tested,marcelos goal so sweet,and king ronnies free kick broke their heart…….have faith fellow fans

  6. I saw the game…it wasnt great from Brazil. Rons free kick was awesome – he had 2 from a similar position earlier in the game but it was still a cracking strike. Marcelo had a great game and his goal was special. But all in all it was a rather lacklustre performance in the first half but good ‘mental strength’ to come back and win with 10 men!

  7. From my point of view ever since the first Copa game Fire Mano .
    It’s a shame really that the entire CBF is corrupt as shit !

    I’d even preffer Dunga now. Atleast he has his tactical insight.

    Mano ? I’m sorry you started strong with 1 side where yo claimed that you let the boys play like they want to . His tactics however are not helping.
    So therefore sack MANO!!! haha I’d preffer Muricy or ofc Scolari.

  8. Mano’s Squad were always like this…. start really bad and suddenly he finds the right team and it starts to run like machine! But well… it’s a little risky since we’re talking about a World Cup in Brazil…
    Anyways so far the games so far were so boring. But it’s also being like this for the last 10 years at least.

    About Muricy or Scolari… Muricy is a few weeks away from a match with Barcelona and haven’t got a clue of what to do with Santos and he got all players he asked for and kept Neymarketing and Ganso.

    Scolari is turning Palmeiras into a big joke with the bless of its President … the fans are chasing players and doing awful things with the athletes because Big Phil just make ironic comments. He is officially old, grumpy and stupid.

    We should rebulind the seleção from scratch, no more Ricardo Teixeira, Mano, Kaká, Ronaldinho, Robinho and even Neymar…. that’s too little for such a great history we got in football.

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  10. Ok i saw some of the first half and the entire second half. Brazil was not lucky to win they dominated the game. It wasnt a great game in their part and once the own goal went in and alves got thrown outmexico became more defensive and thought they had the game won.
    With a man down brazil dominated possesion and chances the entire second half. They played physical and with passion and had to overcome and bias referee that was calling the game in favor of the local team.

    I think this line up should be the line up used going foward for brazil. I do agree that ronaldinho’s game is a lot slower but he can pass and his vision is great. Going foward he might be useful coming of the bench for 20 to 40mins instead of starting.

    Fernandinho needs to be off the team, get luis gustavo, sandro,

  11. Ok i saw some of the first half and the entire second half. Brazil was not lucky to win they dominated the game. It wasnt a great game in their part and once the own goal went in and alves got thrown outmexico became more defensive and thought they had the game won.
    With a man down brazil dominated possesion and chances the entire second half. They played physical and with passion and had to overcome a bias referee that was calling the game in favor of the local team.

    I think this line up used against mexico should be the line up used going foward for brazil. Maybe change alves for maicon or pato/damiao for neymar/hulk. All of those players are great and high in quality so you cant go wrong with any of them. Leave lucio and julio cesar of the starting 11 they are not the same players. But provide a lot of leadership so they should be in the bench.
    I do agree that ronaldinho’s game is a lot slower but he can pass and his vision is great. Going foward he might be useful coming of the bench as well for 20 to 40mins instead of starting.

    Fernandinho needs to be off the team, get luis gustavo, sandro, ralf, renato augusto, ramires in there before fernandinho. Although i rather see another attacking MF in there and just used one defensive MF.

    This line up with kaka in there for fernandinho would be a dream come true. Also give Nilmar and douglas costa a chance on the team they are playing good in europe.

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