The seleção has beaten Japan 3-1 in a low key friendly match in Lille, as they continued their World Cup preparations. Next up, England at Wembley.
Brazil played some slick stuff in the first half as they strolled into a 3-0 lead thanks to a Neymar penalty, a Marcelo right-footed rocket and a Gabriel Jesus tap-in after a slick move and brilliant cross by Danilo. For the neutral, the game will perhaps best be remembered by an emotional press conference with Neymar and Tite after the game, as well as some strange use of the TV replays by the referee.
In the press conference Neymar was asked about the alleged disagreements with Cavani and Unai Emery at PSG. Seemingly holding back tears, Neymar gave an emotional defence of his actions and asked the media to stop spreading ‘false stories’ about him. Tite followed that up with a statesman like dicourse in which he defended the player, said that Neymar has a big heart and told the media not to question the player’s character. At this point the tears were welling in Neymar’s eyes, Tite tapped him on the knee and Neymar gave him a weird sort of hug thing and hurriedly walked off stage.
Uncomfortable. Awkward. And emotional.
After the press conference, L’Equipe stuck to their guns and said that the Neymar did almost fight with Cavani in the changing room after a game and that Neymar player didn’t like Emery benching him at a training session.
Reading between the lines, while this may be true, Neymar is an emotional guy, he is full of life and wears his heart on his sleeve. Disagreements can happen between super stars. But that doesn’t mean Neymar is a bad character or maliciously causing problems.
As for the video replays, I always thought the point was for a fourth official to sit upstairs, review the replay and tell the ref what he should do. In yesterday’s game though, the referee checked decisions himself in a monitor at the side of the pitch – wasting a huge amount of time. He may have got the decisions right (a penalty, which Neymar scored and a yellow card for Neymar for petulance), but why not go upstairs?
Regarding selection, a few fringe players such as Jemerson, Giuliano and Danilo were given a chance to impress from the start. Others, such as Cassio, Diego Souza, Taison and Douglas Costa came off the bench. On the whole though, Tite started with most of the players that are likely to start in Russia next year. I expect an even stronger starting eleven against England next Tuesday even though, it seems England look set to blood a few younger players such as Dominic Calvert Lewin, Dominick Solanke and Demarai Gray. I am going to see that game live at Wembley, and my money is on Brazil.
Meanwhile, Willian was given the captain’s armband against Japan as Tite continues with his policy of rotating the captain each game.
Alisson (Cássio); Danilo, Thiago Silva, Jemerson e Marcelo (Alex Sandro); Casemiro, Fernandinho e Giuliano (Renato Augusto); Willian (Taison), Gabriel Jesus (Diego Souza) e Neymar (Douglas Costa)
For the full squad details check out ‘Brazil squad for upcoming friendlies’.
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