After 70 minutes of the dullest football (and a 1-1 draw with Panama) Brazil belatedly turned on the style.
Watching Brazil for the first sixty minutes of their friendly match against the Czech Republic this evening was not easy viewing. After a long day at work, this was not turning out to be the way I wanted to spend my evening.
Brazil couldn’t find any rhythm. The ball was bypassing the midfield. And it wasn’t sticking up front. Lucas Paqueta got the hook at half time, but it could have easily been Richarlison, Coutinho or Allan who were rubbish.
But like a committed blogger I persisted with the game. And fortunately, Brazil did too. They got lucky at the start of the second half when some awful defending allowed Firmino the chance to equalise. Nicely taken goal.
But despite that early second half boost, Brazil still couldn’t get their game going. The opposition were dropping like flies with injuries meaning that the game was stop start, which didn’t help. But even when the game did manage to flow, there was no spark, no creativity, no urgency and no quality. The exception to that was Everton, who came on at half time.
Coutinho is out of sorts. Richarlison and Paqueta are still kids. Rough diamonds, but not nearly the finished article. I’m not a huge fan of Allan either. The lack of quality is beyond Tite’s control, but the Seleção has gone backwards since the World Cup, not forwards. Is that the coach’s fault?
Also, Tite made a somewhat odd team selection for this game after the farce against Panama. He had promised some big changes going into this evening’s match after the poor showing on Saturday. He made them, but he changed the part of the team that has been working (the defence) with the bit that has been struggling (the attack).
And so the attacking quartet of Paqueta, Richarlison, Coutinho and Firmino were maintained, while Alisson, Danilo, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Alex Sandro and Allan came in for Ederson, Fagner, Miranda, Militao, Alex Telles and Arthur.
The knives, journalists pens and bloggers keyboards were sharpening. Brazil couldn’t beat Panama. Following by a strange team selection. And now, losing to the Czech Republic, a team whipped by England. C’mon Tite.
And then finally, belatedly, after around 70 minutes of the dullest of dull football, Brazil began to show what we know they can do. The substitutes made the difference. David Neres came on for his debut and posed more of a threat than Richarlison. Everton was really sharp – his flicks and tricks – could turn the flow of the game, and his driving runs on the counter attack always looked like they could end with a goal.
He does this for Grêmio a lot, but to make such an impact with the weight of the green and gold shirt on his back was impressive for a young lad. Arthur replaced Casemiro and Brazil’s tempo increased too. Gabriel Jesus was on for Coutinho and Brazil were now effectively playing a 4-4-2.
And it worked. Brazil’s positivity, and pressure finally paid off. There were some beautiful moments too, as the likes of Everton, David Neres and Arthur combined with some very effective one touch passing, including backheels. To be fair, Allan also got in on the act and set up Gabriel Jesus for his second and Brazil’s third goal of the night to wrap up the win at around the 90 minute mark.
In the end, Brazil showed what they can do and produced the magic that we want to watch. Let’s have it from the start next time then eh boys?
Leave a comment below – join the debate.