That is the theme song that every Brazilian fan should be singing now !!! Infact they would have been singing the same for the last 5 years !!!
The forwards in the squad in Fifa 2010 were Robinho, Nilmar, Luis Fabiano, Grafite
The forwards in the squad in Confed Cup 2013 were Jo, Fred, Neymar, Hulk and the same guys were there in the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil. Neymar is the only standout name in those squads spanning 5 years. For a country whose previous forwards in the last 20 years of the world cup include Careca, Romario, Bebeto, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho and of course Ronaldo, its a matter of collective soul searching. And when you factor in all the other Brazilian forwards who could not make it to the national squad in those days but plied their talents across the globe, the seriousness of the problem gets a better perspective. (I mean Jose Barretto rocked Indian football for a good 10 years !!!)
The Confed Cup victory of 2013 was the undoing of Brazil in 2014 when it really mattered. This was not my original thought but I have started to believe it. I see good reason to.That victory ensured Scolari was immune from criticism and he ran the show the way he thought was right rather than experiment or look for options and a plan B.
The strategy was pretty clear, pack in goons in the form of defensive midfielders to defend dirty and hope that the individual brilliance of Oscar or Neymar will get you goals.
That is where the problem starts … Lets face it … To win the Confed Cup, you needed to beat 2 good teams … thats it … And Brazil beat Uruguay and Spain … 2 matches can be won on the back of brilliant individual performances backed by maniacal home support or even the opposition having an off day. And thats what happened. Those 2 matches formed the blueprint of Scolari’s plan to win the 6th World Cup !!!
The fact is to win the World Cup you needed to win 4 matches in the knockout stages and 1 match in the group stage. The 5 matches that are must win would have atleast 4 very good teams. So simple maths suggests that winning the World Cup is twice as tough than the Confed Cup at least !!! But our man Scolari did not think so !!! Pass it to Neymar and hope for the best seemed to be the strategy of Brazil in the world cup. Not a bad strategy considering that their arch rivals Argentina also had the same strategy … Pass it to Messi and hope for the best. Argentina atleast had a good defense and could hold on a 1 – 0 lead. Brazil had a one man defence who was suspended against the best team they faced.
Infact in my predictions, made before Suarez went chomping on Chiellini, I had a QF line up of Uruguay vs Brazil and was sure that Brazil would be eliminated then. I got the other half of the draw right as early as 22nd June predicting a Argentina vs Holland semifinal.
But i digress … the standout mistakes on Scolari’s part … not taking Marquinhos or Miranda as a 4th centre back. Thiago Silva is a world class centre back. David Luiz is a brilliant footballer extremely misfit to be a first choice centre back. Dante is a liability who has looked good in bits and pieces. Take Thiago Silva out and you are in major trouble.
Wingbacks have been Brazil’s thing. Memories of Cafu and Roberto Carlos galloping up and down the wings still give me goosebumps. In 2010, Dani Alves was at his best but had Maicon ahead of him in the pecking order. This time Dani Alves was a shadow of himself. And Scolari decided to take Maicon as his backup. The same Maicon who had since the 2010 WC been destroyed by Gareth Bale and hardly got a minute to play in Manchester City and grown 4 years older. No call up for a younger guy like Rafael. Left back Marcelo is great going forward and i say this sincerely … I really hope the guy scores more goals than he does because he gets into some amazing positions and has an awesome shot and plays with a lot of heart … but is a defensive time bomb … No wonder Mourinho and Ancelotti often opted to play Fabio Coentrao behind him. And surprise surprise … the defensive team of the year Atletico Madrid had a Brazilian left back by the name of Filipe Luis !!!
Oscar and Willian were the only 2 creative midfielders in the Brazil squad. Both play under Jose Mourinho so they are being trained to decrease their creative output and instead focus on tracking back !!! Where was Phillipe Countinho ? Instead you had hard men like Ramires, Paulinho, Fernandinho running amok. A Brazil team going out in the semi finals is acceptable but a Brazil team committing the most fouls is not !!! And a midfield packed with 2 destroyers will only do that !!!
Hulk is known to disappear from games and has been on the fringes for long without really ever having a breakout season … at least a season in line with the hype around him … he was a major threat when he and Oscar combined but those moments were for 10 minute periods in a match. Not enough to win against quality opposition.
And Finally Fred … If I was an opposition coach, I would instruct my centre backs to ignore him … let him be … he is not going to do anything … so why bother ? focus on Neymar, Oscar and Hulk instead !!! Seriously in the entire world of brazilian footballers there is no centre forward better than Fred and Jo ??? Is this what the world has come to ? Is this what Brazilian football has come to ? Atleast with regards to West Indies and fast bowling there are some logical explanations in terms of waning popularity of cricket or big guys looking towards more lucrative sports careers like basketball but no centre forwards in Brazil !!! How can it even be ??? If Scolari had spent 6 months looking for a centre forward better than Fred and Jo, we would have seen a better performance by Brazil.
In the end none of what i wrote above mattered when faced with Germany on a day like that … missing Thiago Silva and Neymar were not Scolari’s faults but having no back up plan was his fault alone. Brazil would have still lost had Germany even played half as well as they did but aleast it would not have been a humiliation … And thats why Mr Scolari I am glad for you to be sacked !!! (However going by recent history watching him making a comeback is not to be ruled out)