There was only ever going to be one winner in this one and it wasn’t team GB. This Brazil team has a collection of stars who have been playing together for months now. They have also taken their strongest team possible unlike Team GB who are a collection of mediocre Premier League players that have been thrown together and played for the first time.
In stark contrast to Team GB, Brazil’s first choice team is close to their full strength team. If there was no age restriction I think the only players who would have been called up but weren’t are: Ramires, Dani Alves, Lucas Leiva, Dedé and Júlio César. Maybe Fred. Kaká, Robinho and Ronaldinho probably wouldn’t have been called up.
The grand plan is to prepare a team capable of winning the World Cup in 2014 and Mano Menezes has been working at preparing and bringing through Brazil’s next generation of teams and building them into a team for a long time. He didn’t have much time to prepare for the Copa America, his team’s first test which they failed. There will be no excuses now though.
Mano is one of the few senior coaches to be coaching his country’s Olympic team and this is serious business for Brazil. This is Brazil’s second and most important test in the Mano era. Fail to win this and there will be a crisis back especially since Brazil, who have won five World Cups, have never won the Olympics. Expectations are huge. Only a win will do.
On tonight’s evidence Brazil are the clear favourites for the competition. They lived up to it without really playing as well as they could. The did enough in the first half then took their foot off the gas. Sandro opened the scoring with a header and then Neymar scored a penalty at the end of the first half. I can’t really be bothered to write a match report because Team GB were depressing – it was no contest really. I am also really jet-lagged after my flight back from Brazil today.
Lucas Moura (subject of a huge bid from Manchester United) made an impressive second half appearance for around 25 minutes and Ganso came on and sprayed around one or two excellent passes (I just wish he would work harder). Pato came on for some important game time after he has been out with injury. Brazil look good. Spain, you would think, are the only serious rivals and they have sent a weaker team to the competition. As for Team GB I think it’s fair to say Team GB have a better chance in the cycling and rowing.
Did you see the game – thoughts?
Brazil (4-2-3-1): Rafael Cabral, Rafael da Silva, Thiago Silva, Juan, Marcelo (Alex Sandro – 80), Sandro (Danilo – 85), Romulo, Neymar, Oscar (Ganso- 68) Hulk (Lucas Moura – 68), Leandro Damiao (Alexandre Pato – 74)