“For Brazil, a 2nd consecutive exit at the Quarter – Final stage in Copa America proves that this is just not the case with European teams taking lead in the World football, in fact there is a problem on the larger scale that needs to be fixed.”
For any football viewer, Brazil has been always a force in the World Football that was renowned for the kind of attacking football that was attractive to the eye, and remained fruitful in the results as well. Brazil remains a team that has won the World Cup most times (5 times), with Germany and Italy remains second (4 times). However, the last of those 5 World Cup wins came back more than a decade ago in 2002. Since then, Brazil only managed to reach one Semi – Final in 3 World Cups, which was in 2014 which was hosted in their own backyard, where they got a 7-1 thrashing to the newly crowned World Champions, Germany.
There was a sense that European football is taking a distant lead against their North American giants, and that’s why Brazil and Argentina is facing a hard time in the World Cup Tournaments. Argentina in the recently concluded World Cup and in this Copa America Tournament, have managed to prove that argument wrong by reaching a World Cup final and now are one victory away from clinching their first major International Trophy in more than 2 decades when they will face Chile in the Copa America final on Sunday, 4th July. For Brazil, a 2nd consecutive exit at the Quarter – Final stage in Copa America proves that this is just not the case with European teams taking lead in the World football, in fact there is a problem on the larger scale that needs to be fixed.
In 2011, Brazil was ranked 11th in FIFA ranking, which was the first time in nearly 2 decades. Brazil’s performance in the recent times were alarmingly poor, and as we say that there is theory to everything, Brazil’s poor performance in the recent time has a theory as well. So what has really gone wrong? The Answer is pretty much a lot.
To begin with, Brazil has some serious issues in their defense, the one they need to sought out sooner than later. For quite a long time, Brazil used to get away with their average defensive line with their brilliance in attacking display, but with attacking quality diminishing in the recent years, it’s taking a toll on Brazil’s defense which was never their forte to begin with. Brazil lack in the quality Goal keeping department, and that problem does not seem to be solving out any time soon. Julio Cesar was the man between the sticks till the World Cup 2014, but at the age of nearly 36, he is surely past his best and there is no one to match his quality, and his quality was by no mean equal to any World Class Goal Keeper like Lloris, Nuer or De Gea.
After the Goal Keeping crisis, another problem Brazil face is the lack of discipline in their defensive line. PSG’s Thiago Silva, who people rank among the best defenders in the World, does his best nearly every time around, but he lack support from the other end. David Luiz, who signed for PSG for a whopping €50 Million last year from Chelsea, is too attacking minded for a center back, and is always willing to leave his place to join the attack up front. He is brilliant when he is part of the attacking unit, but leaves players unmarked while defending.
What makes this problem severe for Brazil is that he is not the only one like that in the Brazil’s normal defensive line, as the likes of Marcelo and Dani Alves (even though Dani Alves is pretty decent while defending and had a brilliant Copa America) also have this attacking mentality, which leave their defense open too often. What worsen this problem is the fact that replacement for these defenders are not great either. One replacement for Luiz can be Dante, who plays for German Champion Bayern Munich, have more than once shown that he lack the pace to compete at the top level.
Inter’s new boy Miranda is a good replacement, but he is at the wrong side of his age and is also losing his pace and won’t be able to replace Luiz come the next International tournament around. Marcelo’s ideal replacement is a Chelsea left back Felipe Luiz, but he is also at the wrong side of his age, and is not so good while attacking from the wing. Madrid’s new boy Danilo provide a good and long term replacement for Dani Alves, but Brazil has a lot of work to do in their back four.
Another problem for Brazil is the lack of Leader in the middle of the park. Likes of Paulinho, Fernandinho, and Luiz Gustavo could not establish themselves as the man who dictate the game from the middle, like Aturo Vidal do for Chile. Their performance remained below par for the National side, and they gave away the ball a little too cheaply in the middle, which then even further emphasize the loopholes in their defensive line.
In the attacking department, Brazil in the recent times have been too dependent on Neymar, which every now and then proves to be a burden too much for an individual to carry. Neymar’s performances for Brazil is been astonishing to say the least, but Brazil’s too much dependence on him proved costly in the recent World Cup Semi Final, where Neymar had to miss because of a serious injury and then in the Copa America, where he had to fly home after being banned for 4 matches after receiving a red card in the match against Colombia. The likes of Chelsea’s Willian, Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho & Zenit’s Hulk could not replicate their club performances for the National side, and Brazil found wanting in their attacking department in Neymar’s absence.
Too conclude it all, Brazil seems to lose its way a little in the recent past, and could not able to adapt to the change of style in football in the recent years, where teams have earned success by playing possession football and by having a rock solid defense. Their method of going all-out attack does not seem to pay dividend any more, and it’s about time to change the direction a little.
It seems like it’s about time for Brazil Football Confederation to get back to the drawing board as their recent slump in the Copa America and World Cup should be an eye opener for them. It also seems like this Brazil team lack the character that they were known for. This current generation seems to lack self – belief that the previous lot of players had from mid-90’s to early 2000’s, where they won 2 World Cup and came runner up in 3 World Cups between 1994 till 2002. Some may argue that maybe it’s a little too late to change their attitude or mentality for now, but it’s never too late to start building up for the future. BFC now has a job in their hand, to take steps that might not be pleasing to the eye, but steps that will ensure that Brazil will come back on the very top once again in the near future.
The article originally appeared on Playingfor90.com.