Sloppy Brazil Need To Wake Up Or Risk Losing The Dream



So hosts Brazil have managed to squeeze past neighbours Chile and reach the quarter-final stage of this years World Cup. But ‘A Seleção’ need to buck up their ideas or risk falling before the final at the Maracanã!

Not for the first time in this tournament Brazil were shoddy and looked average at times. The Chileans deserve a lot of credit for pressurising Brazil onto the back foot.

But the Brazilians looked very clumsy on the ball and would constantly hand possession back to ‘La Roja’. The Chilean goal highlighted the Brazilian’s frailties at keeping easy possession. They had a throw-in deep inside their own half. Marcelo gave Hulk the short throw but Hulk’s return pass sold the left-back short, Chile made one pass into the box and Alexis Sanchez made no mistake with his effort.

Too many of the boys in yellow have been ordinary in their own country.

Julio Cesar had a good game against Chile and one of a few to come away with any credit. Flapped at a few crosses during the group stages but his experience could be vital. Was inspirational for the penalty shoot-out victory!

The central defensive partnership of David Luiz and Thiago Silva was given plenty of praise before the tournament but they haven’t been at their best so far. Captain Silva needs to command more and lead by example. When opposing teams get the ball they’re not scared to attack the Brazilian defenders and run at them.

Both full-backs love bombing forward, we’ve known that about Marcelo and Dani Alves for years now. Both are suspect when the ball gets played behind them and they need to start defending. For me, Alves has lost a bit of his energy and can’t run up and down the way he used to. Both can be liabilities when it comes to keeping their discipline.

Luis Gustavo has actually done his job well. He isn’t creative or a flair player but he’s marshalled well in front of his defenders. Gustavo has been unfortunately been left vulnerable when both full-backs get forward and his teammates lose the ball too easily. Brazil often need a hardworking midfielder to sweep up and give the ball to the star players, remember Dunga, Cesar Sampaio, Emerson and Gilberto Silva? Like those players Gustavo’s work often goes unnoticed. But he’ll be missing in the quarter-final tie and that could be harmful to Brazil’s chances.

Fernandinho, Paulinho and Ramires need to do more to help the side. All have had their games now and none of them have came out showing they deserve a full-time role in the first eleven. They need to work harder to help Luis Gustavo and certainly do more to help retain possession and help create chances. Weak or silly tackles have been aplenty with this trio and they also don’t do enough to get forward and help the frontmen.

Oscar has been fairly anonymous after the opening match in Croatia, where he scored a good goal. His work-rate doesn’t seem as high for his country as it is for Chelsea. He really can be the man that can take some of the creative pressure off Neymar’s shoulders but needs to step up and quickly. He often seems to drift out to the wings and away from the action. Would like to see the young number eleven demand to see more of the ball and start making more incisive passes.

I’ve never seen Hulk have a great game and I am still waiting. Was average or very poor in the group stages. Woke up a bit in the round 16 fixture and seemed desperate to help out Neymar and try an attack Chile. When in that mindset he looks difficult to play against but we haven’t seen it enough in this competition. I’d actually stick him in the false nine role and get him attacking defences through the middle as he’d be more willing than the other more natural number nines!

Speaking of the forwards, Fred and Jo have been beyond poor at this World Cup. Fred did get his goal against Cameroon last week but if that was meant to galvanise the thirty year old forward then it’s not happened. I wouldn’t trust either one of them to hold a baby, never mind holding up a ball in the final third of the pitch. Both seem to have the most unwanted gift of losing the ball and seem to slip over more than Bambi on ice! They offer very little in the way of runs and are frustrating to watch. Neither are in form and whilst its commendable for coach Luiz Felipe Scolari to keep persevering with these attackers, when does his persistence become complete and utter folly?

Would like to see more of Bernard and Willian but at the minute neither seem to be close to starting or getting too much game time.

Neymar has been the hero so far for the hosts. We all knew he’d needed to be on song to give Brazil hope of getting all the way to the final but I doubt many of us would have guessed just how dependent Brazil would be on their star number ten. Has taken his four goals with style and has pace to burn that keeps defenders on their toes. Has had to endure a lot of rough treatment, thats been dished out from opposing hardmen. Suffered from a knock to his knee or his thigh that looked sore at the time and will have stiffened up with each break during that mammoth encounter against Chile. Will need top service from his nations medical team if he’s to be fully fit for their next match. Also one booking away from suspension. The player that the Brazilian’s simply can’t afford to lose now!

Also do not underestimate the importantance of Luiz Felipe Scolari! Big Phil has seen the World Cup, won the World Cup and bough the t-shirt. His experience will be a huge advantage to this Brazilian squad. He needs to get the players believing and playing with more passion and commitment. The coach also needs to get his cracks to drop the clumsy mistakes!

Listen, it’s far from over for the world’s most decorated national team. They are still in the World Cup, in which they are hosting. Their would be very little to no point in peaking at the group stages. I remember back in 1998, hosts France also endured a tough last 16 game against Paraguay and managed to scrape through and go on and win the tournament.

Brazil, as a team, have had to play with so much pressure this month. So its no surprise that they’ve had nervy moments. But to succeed and win this tournament they need to rely more on the team unit and not just Neymar. They need to embrace the pressure that they are under and play with their own style and dictate games. Use the home crowd to their advantage and put pressure back on opposing teams.

If they can’t do that, then they will not improve and at the moment they aren’t playing well enough to beat three more sides. Luck can only get you so far and up next is Colombia, who will provide another stern test!

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