Teamwork makes the dream work

Brazil rue tactical warning in Copa América opener


Brazil‘s younger ahead line went into this Copa América going through a giant query: How would they cope towards cautious opponents who defend deep and deny them the house to launch the counter assault?

The reign of coach Dorival Junior bought off to a powerful begin again in March with a win away to England and an thrilling 3-3 draw with Spain. However these have been wildly untypical of many of the matches that Brazil play — and particularly totally different from Dorival’s aggressive debut towards Costa Rica. In entrance of their very own followers, England and Spain pushed ahead. Brazil may sit again and select the second to spring ahead. This was clearly not going to occur towards Costa Rica.

Argentine coach Gustavo Alfaro is a wonderful organiser of a defensive unit. His Costa Rica have been clearly going to take few possibilities, and so they counted on an necessary ally — the scale of the Inglewood pitch.

The enjoying surfaces used on this Copa are smaller than these for common FIFA tournaments. This topic has turn out to be one thing of a Brazilian obsession within the event construct up, since their apparent conclusion is that the smaller the pitch, the tougher it turns into for them to play their method via the opposition.

The sport towards Costa Rica, then, had Brazil trapped in a non-public nightmare. They have been anticipated to roll over their CONCACAF rivals with ease. Possibilities got here and went. There have been penalty appeals. Marquinhos had the ball within the internet, solely to have the objective dominated out for a slim offside. Up within the stands, Neymar watched in rising frustration as possibilities have been spurned. A few of that frustration was felt on the sphere. Brazil have been often petulant, typically rushed. There was a scarcity, for instance, of the calm high quality with which, earlier within the day, James Rodríguez had arrange Colombia‘s opening objective towards Paraguay.

This time not even the introduction of teenage supersub Endrick may save the day. And so Dorival Junior’s first aggressive sport accountable for Brazil resulted in a disappointing 0-0 draw, and Costa Rica, who posed no risk all through the sport, celebrated wildly on the last whistle.

How a lot blame needs to be laid on the door of Dorival?

On one other day, the identical degree of efficiency would have led to a cushty win. However there have been issues — the obvious within the crew choice. Towards such defensive opponents, did Brazil really want each Bruno Guimarães and João Gomes within the centre of midfield?

João Gomes was great at Wembley, making his worldwide debut in March, when he snapped into tackles and stored the English at bay. Right here he was in all probability superfluous. Centre backs reminiscent of Marquinhos and Éder Militão hardly required the extent of safety that he provides. It was placing that he was eliminated solely inside the ultimate 10 minutes, as a result of the answer is so apparent; drop Lucas Paquetá to the central midfield function that he has usually performed for Brazil.

Paquetá is at his finest enjoying entrance to objective, the place he’s finest capable of distribute the play. Additional ahead in one of these video games, there’s the added downside of Paquetá and Rodrygo competing for a similar house. Dorival Junior, then, can anticipate the primary heavy bombardment of criticism in his time as Brazil coach, each for having chosen a crew that was too cautious after which for ready too lengthy to alter the steadiness.

Rodrygo, although, was in all probability the brightest spark of the efficiency. For years Brazil have harboured large hopes of the cell, clever and proficient Actual Madrid attacker, and he persistently discovered other ways to hassle the Costa Rica defence. His membership partnership with Vinícius Júnior, although, didn’t actually hearth. It was a disappointing evening for Vinicius, who gave option to Endrick with simply over 20 minutes remaining. That is his first event as Brazil’s senior attacker, however the one-against-one expertise weren’t on present towards the Costa Ricans, who managed to keep away from defeat to Brazil for the primary time since beating an experimental aspect within the Pan-American Video games of 1960.

Brazil would possibly choose to dwell on newer occasions. Within the 2016 Copa Centenario, Brazil demolished their CONCACAF opponents, cruising to a 7-1 win over Haiti. It did them little good. They failed to attain towards their South American group rivals, drawing 0-0 with Ecuador and dropping 1-0 to Peru. Their destiny on this yr’s group part will even be outlined by ends in the matches towards CONMEBOL groups. Later down the road come the harmful Colombia. However first, Paraguay, a aspect whose conventional resilience proved an excessive amount of for Brazil within the Copas of 2011 and 2015. Maybe Friday’s Las Vegas venue will encourage Dorival Junior to gamble on a much less cautious line up.