Brazil Betrays Itself
July 02, 2010
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.
Bracing for the Quarter-finals
July 01, 2010
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.
I’ve Seen Brazil And It Is Germany
June 14, 2010
A curious thing has happened to Brazil and Germany over the last decade: they have become each other. After losing the 1998 final, Brazil decided–quite consciously, some insist–that jogo bonito had to become jogo para ganhar. They eventually hired Dunga, who always did play the sort of strong football, with some technical flair, usually seen in Munich and not in Rio. It’s been a long time since Brazil has had a truly magical player. Ronaldo could certainly be amazing. I once asked Rafael Márquez what it was like to try to defend against Ronaldo in his prime.
The Evangelicalism of Brazil
June 14, 2010
In his post about Dunga, Frank notes, “the popular conception of Brazil (the country, as well as the national soccer team) is at odds with its history.” In one way, though, Dunga’s 2010 squad reflects one of the most important trends in modern Brazilian history: the explosion of evangelical Protestantism. As the Washington Post noted a few years ago: “The number of those who identified themselves as evangelicals in national census counts doubled, to more than 26 million people in this country of about 185 million.” Evangelicals have also risen to prominence in the national team.