Brazil x South Africa preview, US x Spain recap

June 25, 2009 at 8:37 am Leave a comment

So the US beat Spain.  What to say that hasn’t been said on bigsoccer?  To be entirely honest I don’t know if there’s anything new left to say, so I’ll simply evaluate those thoughts I had ahead of the game and what this means for each team

The US played an exceptional game overall.  They sacrificed on the defensive end, putting in the kind of effort that makes any fan proud.  They made, more often than not, good decision in the final third even if they spent a long stretch from the end of the first through much of the second not seeing good possession.  Both of these are what I wanted to see from the US and they contributed mightily to the win.

If Brazil face the US on Sunday it will likely be a much different match than the group game.  Regardless of the result in the final though the US needs to find a way to perform as well as they did today in their remaining CONCACAF qualifiers.  If they do that they’ll qualify easily, relieve the immense pressure they have been under since the second set of Hexagonal games and enter the World Cup with justified optimism.

For Spain, this game simply reminds them that the Euro 2008 does not cure all ills – they will enter the World Cup as a perennial underachiever in World Cups.  Whether they use their Euro experience to defeat that attitude or their US loss to let it get to them might be the big question.  At full strength, I expect they will go far having learned from both competitions.

Brazil of course are favorites against South Africa today but the hosts are coached by a Brazilian and that leads one to wonder whether he’ll have something up his sleeve.  In the end though Brazil have begun to string solid performances together – coincidentally since the inclusion of Felipe Melo, a better midfielder than Josué who started far too many games last year.  The question will be whether these good performances continue against a team likely to defend with all they have.  If South Africa attack, as they promise, I expect Robinho, Kaká and Luís Fabiano to have a first half similar to the game versus Italy.

The longer the game remains scoreless, the better it will be for the hosts who will be fueled by the crowd to spring an upset.  If they come out too quickly and too soon and don’t get a lucky goal with an offensive strategy, they will be allowing Brazil to do what they have always done best, not simply now under Dunga: to counter attack into open spaces.

It’s late and this new blog deserved an earlier post, maybe while I watched the US x Spain replay.  So tomorrow, following Brazil x South Africa, expect something a little more timely.

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Entry filed under: Brazil, Other national teams.

Group A thoughts Brazil x South Africa recap

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