Confed Cup champions Brazil have come of age before I thought they would. Not because they beat Spain-because they could have lost and still come of age-but how they represented themselves and the discipline they showed. Make no mistake Spain is still my team and I still think they will win the World Cup next year.
However, teams have found out the Achilles heel of Spain; that diagonal pass behind the centre halves. Passing through Spain is basically impossible based on the system they play, and Brazil did well to stretch them out using the width of the pitch. Spain somehow has chosen to not pay attention to that diagonal pass, because Holland came close to beating them in the last World Cup with that very pass, but did not capitalize on it; Arjen Robben got away twice.
Brazil showed character, poise and obviously stuck to their game plan; use the width of the pitch and foul early when they lose the ball. Before now, Brazil looked suspect in defence, but they stepped up big time and man-handled Spain for almost the entire game. One interesting statistic though was that Brazil had 8 shots on target, believe it or not Spain had 7 (the penalty not have counted in that); however, Brazil managed to convert 3 of them. And the statistics we have now gotten accustomed to, Spain had the greater percentage of possession. Upon looking at the statistics you actually realize that the match could have gone either way despite Brazil’s 3 nil win. Why I mentioned that statistics is for the simple fact that Barcelona played a match and had over 9 or 10 shots on target and the opposing team had 2; the team beat Barcelona 2-1.
Spain did not play as bad as I hear most fans say it, Brazil played very well and deserve to be Confed Champions. What I was surprised at was the amount of wayward passes by Spain; which may have been due to Brazil’s tenacity. Hindsight they say is better than 20-20 vision but I would not have started Matta for Spain, he and Torres did not click all match; and I would not have put them (Matta and Torres) out for the second half; the team is much too deep for that. What can never be taken away from Brazil now is the fact that they beat the #1 rank team in the World at its peak. I told an ardent Brazil fan that his team was ranked 22nd coming into the Confed Cup and he almost fainted; he thought they were in the top 5. Needless to say they will make a big jump up the rankings.
Brazil has a well balanced team and Big Phil has done wonders with this young team who are the future of Brazil football. However, heavy is the head that wears the crown, they must win a World Cup to be validated as a great Brazilian team; nothing else will suffice (that’s the harsh reality). The 1982 Brazil team is always referred to as one of the greatest team never to have won the World Cup; and we all remember the players on that team. Brazil won the World Cup in 1994 and their fans are still not satisfied in how they won (they beat Italy on penalties).
Spain has been validated already; they have the best team for over 6-8 years now and the silverware to prove it. To get to the next level this Brazil team must win a World title. I won’t count the Confed Cup, this basically belongs to Brazil. Nonetheless, this is a good Brazil team, balanced, effective, purposeful, strategic and most importantly, scoring a lot of goals. Let’s see how things play out until 2014.
© 2013 Antonio Bell. All rights reserved
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