Disappointing Brazil draw with Venezuela in Copa America

Neymar is carrying Brazilian hopes at the Copa America (VIPCOMM)

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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13 thoughts on “Disappointing Brazil draw with Venezuela in Copa America

  1. As an assiduous reader of your blog since the beginning of it, I’m really happy to hear your participation at BBC radio. Congrats!

    About Brazil’s today game, I pretty much agree with all your comments. I think Brazil has 4 positions still open so far, which are, on the starting 11, the ones of robinho, a. santos, leiva and ramires. Pato did very well today, given the low performance of Ganso, Ney, Robinho (the worst one) and Ramires. Let’s see how it goes on the other games… I’m still confident they will largely improve their performance as the competition goes on…

  2. Thanks for all the support and comments along the way Gil. Our lunchtime conversations have always been a good source of inspiration for blog content, even if we dont always agree. I know you’re a Pato fan but he nearly did everything today. In the end he did nothing though. If that was Ronaldo it would have been 3-0 Brazil. Is he really up to being Brazil’s new number 9??? Lucas Leiva was one of the best players today. He did his job. The problem was the attack.

    • Well lucas and ramires lose the ball more than recover it, they need another attack player like lucas(the other lucas) instade ramires, and the 5 of brazil have to be the only one middle who defend and proyect sometimes to attack like the laterals, in this position casemiro and danilo are good options but wasn´t call by mano, and defense is good i like A. Santos but is better alex sandro a new guy that wasn´t call neither. About Pato he has a great capacity to catch the ball in close spaces, is a good 9 he plays good but not like ronaldo, very diferent. Thanks by your opinion.

  3. Hello there,

    I was watching the game with many friends and I felt so ashamed about it. Mano Menezes is building a squad with bizarre hair and no personality…….

    We need some not so fancy heavy weight players in the mid field and the offensive site to give the team some balance and keep ball possession and give space for creative players to play.

    Hard to believe that they are stopping Brasileirão for that crap.


  4. Agree with Denis, bad haircuts and no personality.
    Brazil team has no personality it is a shame watching the games and I it is very boring and with no flavor at all watching Brazil´s game.

    It is better then sleeping pills to be honest.

  5. Thanks for the comments guys. Agree about the bad haircuts. Neymar started it and does it well but Robinho and Dani Alvez look really stupid….
    So, Pablo, you agree that Ramirez is overrated. Seems like your a fan of Pato though. He hasnt done much in a Brazil shirt yet. Last night he controlled all the really difficult balls and missed the easy ones. Ronaldo would have scored three.
    You’d consider taking out Ramirez and putting in Lucas (from São Paulo)? Bold move – that would leave just one midfielder (Lucas Leiva) and would mean Ganso would have to come back. The full backs could have done more last night but I can’t agree with you about Alex Sandro – he is a terrible defender!
    Dennis – what heavyweights would you put in? Sandro? Felipe Melo perhaps? Vladimir Klitchko? Anderson Silva? Steven Seagull?

    • I prefer take out leiva for lucas and ramirez change to the center, like a 5, robinho, ganso and lucas(sao paulo) are the middle that occupe in attack and sometimes in recover, ramirez is better than leiva but mano prefers leiva, i´m not pato´s fan maybe ronaldo´s fan (like you),but honestly ronaldo fail 3 times in his last game and sorry but he is not playing for brazil any more, pato is the best option now, fred i think is good coming from the last minutes. i think brazil doesn´t recover the ball, well so when they have it must be constant in attack for take back the opponent, and the defense will be charge about the strikeback they are good defenders , and about alex sandro (santos) is a future proyect like casemiro(sao paulo).

  6. hm.. let’s say… Ralf from Corinthians. It would not look fancy or but would keep things serious and protect the defense. But Anderson Silva is a good name.. maybe an Afternoon with Mr. Seagal would be useful too… you know they would learn some new moves since the BALLET ones are not working well.

    I also miss on that team Leandro Damião.

    Ramirez is out of control, looks like Vera Verão most times for me… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ujJTpaNLdc


  7. I assume you weren’t in Brazil — or following the league — when Ramires was at Cruzeiro. He was an amazing player. He came from a small club called Joinville, from the state of Santa Catarina. Not much was known about him until he arrived at Cruzeiro. He was a good ball winner, but his strongest attribute was making runs with the ball at his feet. He was never considered a player of great technical ability, but his speed, quickness and ball control made him lethal when given ample space.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ix93iti_Ro (Scored Cruzeiro’s 2nd goal. Unforunately, they cut half of his run)

    I don’t think Elano is of NT quality. He has decent vision and passing skills, but we need someone who has enough speed to track back and help the defense. Elano is slow and given the tactics we employ, I don’t think he is a fit at Ramires’ position. If we were to play a 4-4-2 box, we could do Lucas, Ramires(Sandro), Elano, Ganso.

    The ideal candidates for me at Ramires’ position would be Hernanes or Anderson, of Manchester Utd. Hernanes was a versatile player at SPFC who was able to defend really well and had the vision to make great passes. He also has a lethal long distance shot. I think he fell out of favor with Mano after his red card vs France. He was exceptional in his first season with Lazio in the Serie A.

    Anderson came up the ranks of Grêmio as a left winger/attacking midfielder. Since moving to Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson viewed him as a bulldog CM. I wasn’t a fan of the move initially, but it has started to grow on me a bit. He seems to have developed a bit in the position. His marking is adequate enough and he certainly has the quality to come forward. Ramires is more comfortable on the right side of the field, but Mano has him on the left, so Lucas can cover for Dani Alves forward runs. Anderson would be a lot more comfortable on the left, given he is left footed.

    As far as Ralf is concerned, with all due respect, but that’s simply a joke. He’s been solid this year at Corinthians, but he does not merit a call-up. What has Ralf ever done before this year? Give me Casemiro of São Paulo or Flamengo’s Willians (leading ball winner last year and 2009) over Ralf any day.

  8. Thanks for the comment Andrew.
    I came to Brazil just before Ramires left Cruzeiro so I saw very few of his games there. The one I did see (Copa Libertadores final in 2009) – he almost got sent off for some stupid fouls and niggling and didn’t impress me with his attitude.
    Agree with you about Anderson and I’ve mentioned his name here on the blog several times as a good option. I definitely prefer him to Ramires but obviously he wasn’t called up for the Copa America. So considering the options and formation (4-2-3-1) I’d go for Elano alongside Lucas in the centre of midfield with Ganso further forward, Robinho and Neymar out wide and Pato or Fred up front.
    So, why are Brazil struggling to produce top class midfielders these days? When we’re mentioning the likes of Ralf, Willians and Steven Seagal, you know things are getting pretty bad!!!

  9. Obviously, we can argue that the player selections for that area were poor when we are discussing Hernanes and Anderson, who were excluded from the squad.

    Elano’s passing and creativity would help, our defense will be left exposed with his marking abilities and lack of speed. Lucas will pretty much be solely responsible for the holes left behind by Elano and the wingbacks.

  10. Maybe but Elano has matured a lot in the last few years. I’m sure he has the discipline to stay in a deeper role. I suppose Elias is also an alternative but he is a great club player. Was a great player for Corinthians. Not really a world beater and like Ramires, he doesnt have the best range of passing but works hard and runs a lot. Sandro is the other option but probably too defensive.

  11. Pingback: Brazil and Argentina latest at the Copa America 2011 | Brazilian Football Blog

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