To be very honest, Brazil’s defeat did not surprise me. From the very beginning, I found the team rigid, overly physical and lacking in authentic creativity. It tells you something abut the Brazilian team that everybody’s been gushing about Lucio and Juan and the rest of Dunga`s defensive set-up. All of a sudden, it was wonderful that both central defenders weren’t “shy about advancing of the field”, as my very esteemed colleague Aleksandar Hemon put it. Well, yes. It’s always nice to see defenders willing to attack.
Of all the match-ups, the most intriguing one (by a narrow margin) is Brazil-Holland. For one thing, they have a nearly identical tactical formation: two holding midfielders in De Yong and Van Bommel for Holland and Melo (or Ramires) and Silva for Brazil, a linking attacking midfielder in Kaka (Brazil) and Sneijder (Holland), four in the back, and a single man up top (Van Persie and Luis Fabiano) supported by pacey wingers.
You play soccer. You have a team, some decent players. You’re ambitious. Good for you. Now, attempt the following: When the whistle blows and the match begins, jog around the pitch slowly, laconically, grinning the entire time. Your body language should express an indifference to the game itself. In fact, let your opponent control the pace, let them have possession, let them think they’re in charge. When you do get the ball, pass it around a little, just to see how it feels. Isn’t the stadium pretty under the lights? Smile. Mostly, though, wait. Be patient.