Archive for April, 2010

Predicting Brazil’s call-up

Dunga has said he will call up his 23 on May 11th, even though he is only required to submit a preliminary list of 30 players.  Here’s a late-night write-up that should help you pick the squad yourself and impress your friends!

The starting line-up:

Julio Cesar; Maicon, Lucio, Juan; Gilberto Silva, Felipe Melo, Ramires, Kaka; Luis Fabiano, Robinho

You’ll notice that’s 10 players, which leads to the next category.

Left-back du jour: pick two from Michel Bastos, Filipe Luis, Andre Santos.  If Filipe Luis does not come back strong from injury, that makes the choice easy.  Chances are Michel Bastos is first choice regardless.  We’re now at twelve.

Locks that will sit: Daniel Alves, Luisao, Elano, Nilmar.  That makes sixteen, with keepers naturally next but instead, let me add an intermediate category:

If they started for their clubs they’d be locks but they don’t so if they’re called up people will say “WTF, those guys ride the pine every week for Roma, how did they make the Brazil team?”:  Doni, Julio Baptista.  If these two make it, that’s eighteen and while it would surprise outside observers, I doubt it would surprise most who follow Brazil closely.

We now need five more, possibly six or seven if the Roma pine isn’t good enough for Dunga anymore.  The third keeper could be any of Victor, Diego, Helton or Gomes.  If Doni doesn’t make it (cross your fingers!) pick two, if he does, pick one.

We now need to figure out the fourth defender.  Thiago Silva and Miranda are the choices.  Flip a coin.  Bias it to Thiago Silva if you can.  Time then to fill out the midfield, let’s do it the Brazilian way – call the defensive ones “volantes” and the offensive-ish ones “meias”.  Volantes will probably include Josué and maybe one more.  Meias will include Julio Baptista or Ronaldinho Gaucho.  Let’s call it twenty-one at this point, say JB is in and RG is not.  Who’s the last forward?  The answer is Adriano with the caveat that he’s shot himself in the foot so often that what should’ve been a lock is very uncertain now.

So let’s say we have a final 22 and I honestly can’t figure out the 8th midfielder:

Julio Cesar, Doni, Gomes; Daniel Alves, Maicon; Juan, Lucio, Luisao, Thiago Silva; Michel Bastos, Andre Santos; Gilberto Silva, Felipe Melo, Josue; Kaka, Elano, Ramires, Julio Baptista; Luis Fabiano, Nilmar,  Robinho, Adriano

Let’s call these probables and set the next two levels to outsiders and long-shots (although one of those will have to make the final 23).

Keepers: Helton, Victor, Diego

Central Defender: Miranda (long-shot: Cris)

Left Back: Filipe Luis

Mids: Mineiro, Lucas, Ronaldinho, Kleberson, Carlos Eduardo (longshots: Sandro, Fabio Simplicio, Alex, Ganso, Tardelli, Diego Souza)

Forwards: Hulk, Grafite (long-shots: Pato, Neymar)

As ever, the longer the list becomes the more speculative it gets.  Some of these are just guys who got call-ups in 2009 and limited playing time.  Neymar and Ganso would be big surprises and while Dunga has said there won’t be any surprises some journalists speculate they may nonetheless make the squad (I won’t go into the rationalizations they use here).  The more you look at the list of probables the harder it is to see a long-shot sneaking in.  Dunga has done his homework and he’s not likely to change things at the last minute.


April 25, 2010 at 11:51 pm Leave a comment

I found some jogo bonito

How would you characterize the following play? Brazil’s number 10, alone amid several green shirts, finds the center-forward with his back to goal. The center-forward meets the pass and one-touches it back, the number 10 drifts left as he receives it and defenders close in, the left-winger drifts in to fill the open space in the middle. A smart back-heel pass into the wingers path leaves him facing the goal, he releases quickly to the center-forward, runs into the box, gets a back-heel pass right into his path again and, where minutes ago 3 yellow shirts were outnumbered and unmoving, now the winger sits alone facing the keeper and side-foots home an easy goal.

Would you call it beautiful?

Continue Reading April 24, 2010 at 4:48 am Leave a comment

Learning what Brazil is all about

Talk of Brazil, both in Brazilian and foreign media, suffers from so many cliché’s and stereotypes that I want to start from my perspective. A perspective at once grounded in reality but discovered by the hopeful child. Hopefully I can set aside platitudes and connect to what it means, through my eyes, to watch Brazil.

Continue Reading April 20, 2010 at 8:05 am Leave a comment


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