Brazil x South Africa recap

June 25, 2009 at 11:20 pm Leave a comment

A horrible game for any Brazilian fan ended with a brilliant free-kick goal that spared us from overtime and (greater) potential fatigue in the final.

South Africa was effective in defense while Maicon, Gilberto Silva, Felipe Melo and Ramires were all ineffective in supporting the offensive trio.  As a result Brazil tried too often to break through the middle with only one or two players at a time showing any movement.  Eventually South Africa began to turn the tide on possession and push forward.  South Africa had chances on set pieces and shots from outside the box.  Most did not challenge Julio Cesar but one in particular during the second half required an amazing save.

South Africa’s domination occurred in the second half as well under similar circumstances.  Once again they stifled Brazil easily and pushed forward into a surprisingly spacious offensive half.  On a few occassions Luis Fabiano and Kaka had a chance to do something but either hit the keeper or missed by varying degrees.

Full credit to South Africa because even if the Brazilian midfield had played one of its better games they would have been outnumbered and forced to work hard to spread South Africa out.  The USA will want to keep that in mind and will likely have a good shot at repeating South Africa’s succesful defense if DeMerit, Onyewu, Bocanegra and Clark can be compact and close down the middle.  Brazil will have to hope Maicon is refreshed or Daniel Alves starts in order to keep Bocanegra wide and open up space to invite the midfield into.  If they do and the midfield finds that space, expect Brazil to retain possession more effectively than against South Africa and create better chances.

So how did Brazil win?  As Brazil often has under Dunga they counted on a bit of luck and a bit of individual brilliance.  Julio Cesar made a save where many keepers would simply watch the deflected shot go in.  Ramires in one of his only forays forward earned a foul just outside the box.  Daniel Alves, the right-back who subbed in for a left-back, took the free-kick brilliantly putting Brazil ahead with only three minutes left.  Luis Fabiano did miss an easy goal a minute later but it would have been undeserved.

Brazil must now figure out whether they need to make one or two changes to the line-up to offer a more rested midfield a chance to shine or whether they simply need to regroup with this line-up if they believe it has what it takes to create chances and that this game was a fluke.  Based on past performances and recent trneds I wouldn’t mind seeing two changes – one at right-back and one in the middle – to provide some energy.  Either way, Dunga will also need to substitute earlier if today’s story repeats itself.

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Entry filed under: Brazil.

Brazil x South Africa preview, US x Spain recap Brazil x USA preview, Confederations Cup final

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