Brazil and Argentina drew 0-0 last night in a match that was below the standards we would normally expect from two of the Worlds’ great footballing nations. On the whole it was another disappointing performance from Brazil. They improved in the second half but relied on individual skills rather than team cohesion. The match was played in Córdoba, Argentina and was the first leg of the Superclássico das Américas with the second leg to be played in Belém, Brazil on 28 September.
Both sides called up only players who are currently playing their club football in their countries’ local championships and the inferior quality showed. The match certainly lacked the tension of a typical Brazil v Argentina too. We did see a few new debuts in the Brazil team including the likes of Jefferson, Dedé, Réver, Danilo, Paulinho. The most surprising inclusion was probably the including of Renato Abreu who is 33 years old. Clearly age isn’t an issue which makes Mano Menezes’ decision to leave out strikers Borges (31) and Kléber (28) harder to understand. Check the full squad list here.
Argentina dominated the first half and made a few clear chances inside the first twenty minutes. Danilo was caught out several times and right back and some poor defending from Réver should have been punished more than once. Ronaldinho was made captain for the evening and deservedly if you ask me following his performance against Ghana last month. But he was quiet in the first half and his delivery from set pieces not very accurate. He got better in the second. Neymar’s individual brilliance was Brazil’s best hope and he almost created one out of nothing for Leandro Damião who hit the post on twelve minutes. As the half went on Leandro Damião got more and more isolated and Neymar got more and more greedy.
Things started to get better when Mano Menzes brough on Oscar midway through the second half for Renato Abreu (who probably had the most unexciting international debuts in history). Things were now starting to get a little more exciting for Brazil at least with a couple of Ronaldinho runs, free kicks and Neymar dribbles. And then the moment of skill that made it worth staying up late to watch the game. Leandro Damião. Check it out below.
And he does it all the time for Internacional. If you don’t believe me check this. 40 goals in 46 clubs games this year by the way.
Good debut by Dedé by the way; probably Brazil’s best player on the night.
In the context of things, the result is not bad and Mano will fancy his chances of finally beating a strong team in the return leg in a fortnight’s time. But are things getting better? But moments of skill aside, Brazil have now still failed to beat strong opposition since Mano Menezes became coach in August 2010 (they previously failed to beat France, Argentina, Holland and Germany). They were also really disappointing at the Copa America.
Personally, I was disappointed with three (all mediocre) defensive midfielders being named in the starting line-up though. Ganso probably would have been in the team if he was available. However, Menezes’ tendency to revert to a defensive line-up the minute things go wrong is a shame for Brazil fans and fans of the beautiful game.
And I also wonder: with both countries fielding weakened teams, is there really any point in this friendly? It does give some younger players a chance but it also means a bunch of players being called up for two matches and never again (Kléber, Renato Abreu, Paulinho, etc). What is the point on that? How does that help Mano Menezes with team selection? Pretty lousy Brazil v Argentina too if you ask me! Any thoughts on that? Anybody see the game?