World Cup 2022 | Brazil performed like champions
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Richarlison’s goal will remain in the fans’ emotions. It was such a goal that you cannot forget. I want to be wrong, but I doubt that such a goal will be scored in this World Cup again. Football, and Brazilian football, is loved because of such goals and moments.
However, there was another element in Brazil’s game, which does not really belong to the aesthetic category, although it is this element that determines the championship chances of “Seleção.” It was controlling. Tite’s team was completely in control of the game – in control of themselves. Although they did not score for long, Brazil methodically and systematically increased their possession and did not betray their game concept. No panic, excessive emotion, or attempt to take the game too far – Brazil had to score and knew they would.
Most importantly, Brazil completely controlled the opponent. Seleção did not give Serbia any chance during all this moderate pressure. They didn’t even allow the ball to come out of the defense. Very good pressing from the attackers, the Casemiro factor in the center of the field, and the rigid and aggressive defense, which suffocated the opponent as soon as they reached the penalty area, did not allow Serbia to counterplay at all. This is the main strength and dignity of Tite’s team. Strength and dignity are necessary for a championship – the ability to control the opponent completely when you play in such a way that conceding a goal is impossible, and it is a matter of technique and timing when you will score.
This Brazil has more defensive players on the wings – Danilo and the aging Alex Sandro, who has lost his former speed and mobility. Those who watch Juventus games will agree that both are often played in Turin’s center of the defense – Danilo in both four-back and three-back tactics and Alex Sandro in only three central defenders. Their defensive skills are beyond question.
The defenders in front of Tite do not go deep on the wing during the possession of the ball. They come more toward the center and are located near the approaches to the opponent’s penalty area. That is, in the position that best protects the opponent’s counterattacks. The most important thing to avoid counterattacks is to control the central zone.
By the way, Pep Guardiola also uses this tactical method when he meets an opponent who plays well on counterattacks. Kyle Walker does not go to the wing but to the center.
Add to that Casemiro, and it becomes clear how difficult it is for the opposition to start thinking about their attack after winning the ball. You lose the ball immediately. Suppose Germany did not have a good stopper and actively attacked with the involvement of the wing-backs, which created spaces in their half. In that case, Brazil does the opposite – they attack carefully with the wing-backs and have a good stopper midfielder.
Lucas Paqueta was very good in the center of the pitch. He controlled the ball’s movement and the game’s tempo very well. Paqueta was a depth player for Brazil. Tite counted on it when he played him instead of Fred. Paqueta was probably the best player on the pitch after the triumphant Richarlison. Tite does not have another player with this function and qualities.
The duo of Neymar and Vinicius meant little individualism for Brazil. On the contrary, 42 percent of Seleção’s attacks came from the left wing (from the right – 34, from the center – 24), and 36 percent of their shots came from the left wing (from the right, this figure was only – 9 percent). In general, if anyone was relatively out, it was Raphinha on the right wing of the attack.
The ability to completely control the match distinguishes Brazil from, for example, Portugal. Despite their advantage, Portugal allowed the opponent to counterplay, conceded two goals, and clearly could not control the game emotionally in the last minutes. On an emotional level, the game went away from Portugal. The team was confused, and the match had a nervous ending. Brazil’s control, solidity, and stability looked very championship-like.
It should also be said that in the VAR era, Portugal was given a very questionable penalty that was not even checked. The referee was sure he saw a one hundred percent penalty with minimal contact on Ronaldo. It didn’t seem fair. The audience didn’t even see Rafael Leao’s goal, why it wasn’t offside. In short, better refereeing could have been done.
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