Monday, September 9, 2013

Brazil Fine Tunes, Australia Out of Tune

Ball Harambee By Bagga Wilks

Australia is more known for its cricket prowess than its soccer skills. In a friendly against Brazil in Brazil, it was batting practice for the Selecao squad. At the end of a ninety minute rout, Brazil had registered six goals. Australia early in the game had a few corners but barely had a shot on goal.

Scolari’s team did not play well against Switzerland in a recent friendly when they lost 1-0 with Daniel Alves scoring on his own keeper. The Brazilians are yet to show that they can win on the road. They were impressive in the Confederation Cup which was played in their backyard. But does the dog have the same bark when he walks through the gate and leaves the confines of his own house? Brazil plays Portugal on Tuesday, September 10 in Boston and that will be a more formidable test for Scolari’s squad.

Scolari experimented with his starting team against Australia. Maicon who spent a half season warming Manchester City’s bench and is now at Roma, started at right full back. The two central defenders, Thiago Silva and David Luiz have grown comfortable playing together. Marcelo started at left full back but had to leave the game just before half-time as he pulled a hamstring. Brazil is unquestionably solid with their back.

Oscar was injured and thus the three mid-field players were Luiz Gustavo, Paulinho and Ramires. Those are three mid-fielders who can run until the cows come home, tackle furiously and are effective offensive players. Scolari should stick with that trio against Portugal.

Against Australia, there was no Hulk and the talented Bernard started on the right flank and made quite an impression. Scolari will have to keep Bernard in the starting line-up.

Jo replaced Fred and netted two goals. Jo had a rough time in his debut in English soccer with Manchester City and was shopped around from club to club. He returned to Brazil and has re-established himself as a formidable striker and more than likely will start for Brazil in the 2014 World Cup.

The strike force of Neymar, Jo and Bernard will not be easily contained by opposing defenders. The midfield will be supportive of the forwards and the last four comprise some of the top defenders in the world of soccer.

Scolari is fine tuning his squad and the aggregation is being led by players in their early twenties seeking to bring back the glory days of Brazilian soccer.

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