Good and bad news readers. Good news first. Your favourite Brazilian football blogger was contacted by the BBC to comment on Brazil’s chances at the Copa America on their Sportsworld have your say radio show on Saturday afternoon. While I tipped Argentina as tournament favourites (that’s what most people think in Brazil by the way), I agreed with Tim Vickery that Brazil had a great chance of winning thanks to their relatively balanced team plus the talent of their domestically based attacking talents Neymar and Ganso. The bad news is that it turned into a case of commentators curse because Brazil got off to a lousy start. They could only draw 0-0 with Venezuela in La Plata with Neymar and Ganso both well below their best.
See the BBC programme here SPW HYS Brazil.
Brazil started both halves brightly with good passing and movement as well as pressuring their opponents high up the pitch. This is something that coach Mano Menezes has been drilling them on in training this week. Ganso was looking in creative mood and Pato was a menace up front. But as both halves went on Ganso disappeared, Ramirez was completely lost in midfield, Neymar struggled to get on the ball and go on his usual mazy runs and Alexandre Pato was Mr. Nearly time and time again. He nearly scored a goal (hit the post), nearly (should have) controlled the ball with just the keeper to beat, nearly stayed onside to have a clear run at goal. I don’t know what to make of Pato. He has got the talent but at times seems to be uninterested, lack concentration, lack composure. What do readers you think?
The strange thing about Brazil today was everybody was at it. Even the normally reliable Daniel Alvez was making stupid mistakes and missing simple passes. Was it the pitch? Could be part of the reason but that can’t explain it all. Were Venezuela that good? No. Was it just a bad day at the office for Brazil, Neymar and co.? Let’s hope so. Are people expecting too much too soon from this team and these players? I guess we’ll find out as the tournament goes on.
It’s early days and I’ll still back Brazil, Neymar and Ganso to bounce back. I’d really like to see Elano start in place of Ramirez for the next game though. For me, Ramirez is one of the most overrated players in world football. Does anybody else agree? Any Chelsea fans? What about Brazilian readers – was he ever any good at Cruzeiro?
At least the Brazil women’s team put on a show. Marta – the best female player in the world – helped the Brazil ladies beat Norway 3-0 in the 2011 Fifa Women’s World Cup. Perhaps Mano Menezes should call her up.
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