July 21, 2014Big Phil's defensive snub
The World Cup has officially ended and the triumph of UEFA over COMMEBOL was evident when Argentina fell short 1-0 to Germany and Brazil being humbled again against Holland 3-0. The Argentines though did show up to the tournament prepared defensively only conceding four goals in the entire competition. Brazil on the other hand lacked defensively, in the group stage the Selecao conceded only twice but the squad looked vulnerable from the back. The opening game against Croatia showed their defensive frailties from the back line when the Croats scored first from a cross on the flank. The match against Cameroon the indomitable lions manage to grab their only goal of the competition by an attack from the Brazilian flank.
After the group stage was the important knockout round of the tournament the Canarinhos defense was still pushed by Chile and Colombia. Brazil in the round of 16 faced off against the high pressing Chile. Chile forced the home side to penalties with Alexis Sanchez canceling out David Luiz's goal. In fact Chile could of stole the quarterfinal spot from Brazil if it wasn't for the woodwork. The quarterfinal match pitted the Selecao against a high tempo Colombia who was being spearheaded by the young maverick James Rodriguez. Brazil was able to score twice and defeat los cafeteros 2-1, limiting James Rodriguez to one goal but yet again Colombia had opportunities to win the game. The match against Colombia left Brazil crippled in attack and defensively as Thiago Silva picked up a yellow card to be suspended in the next match and Neymar broke his vertebrae from a challenge from Charles Zuniga.
The following matches would soon unravel the Selecao's dreams of redeeming the ghosts of 1950. Brazil faced off in the semifinal against the mighty Germans who although hit some stumbles looked strong, confident, and professional. The semifinal ended in a horrendous drubbing of Brazil by die Mannschaft 7-1. Many would soon place an excuse on the Canarinhos semifinal on "lacking Thiago Silva, the defensive rock and captain of Brazil." But in truth even if Parisian based defender played against Germany, the Germans would of still prevailed. The third place game against the Netherlands looked to be the a way for Brazilians to galvanize themselves behind their team. In fact again the match against the Dutch would also show Brazil's lack defensively.
When researching Brazil's defensive options one rather large question is raised in regards to Scolari's selection. Why was Joao Miranda and Filipe Luis omitted from the Selecao? The Brazilian duo that won the La Liga trophy this campaign for Atletico Madrid were not selected by "Big Phil" Scolari. The Colchoneros went on to win the La Liga trophy the 2013-2014 campaign; part of the success by Atletico Madrid last campaign was attributed to the Rojiblancos defense. The defense for Atletico Madrid boasted only allowing 26 goals out of 38 games in La Liga.
Many pundits, critics and fans have asked the question of "What if" Miranda and Luis were selected and played instead of Dante and Alves? Unfortunately the public will not know and although the World Cup was very thrilling. Many at first sight saw the selection for Brazil and thought to look away due to the majestic allure of the World Cup being played in a country that lives and the breathes the sport. Instead not many asked about the Brazilians capability to defend in this amazing tournament that only comes once every four years.
Posted by Gio Franco at 3:52 PM