Skip to content


July 3, 2011

Thiago Silva and Nicolas Fedor go at it...

Brazil 0 x 0 Venezuela.

And thus Mano Menezes’s Brazil premieres at the 2011 Copa America.

And very much like Argentina, his team crashed and burned.

After a lot of promising moments in the first half, due mainly to the creativity and skills of Pato and Neymar, Brazil simply disappeared after the break. The second half saw Mano’s boys put on their most anemic performance to date.

Much was expected from Paulo Ganso, Brazil’s up-and-coming maestro – a “left-footed Zidane”, according to BBC’s Tim Vickery.

Alas, in only his second match with the senior squad, and coming off from 8 months of injuries, Ganso failed in every way.

Lacking rhythm, pace, flair, gusto…he embodied everything that was ugly about the entire team.

Mano Menezes substitutions also left a lot to be desired. Elano and the wonderful Lucas Moura came on too late. After the 70th minute, full-blown desperation had already taken over the players, and the inclusion of the obtuse Fred in the forward line was comical at best.


To quote my beloved father in the email he sent me right after the match: “who is Fred?”

Neymar showed some magic down his well-known left flank, alas, his creative passes and plays ended in oblivion, as Venezuela displayed amazing composure in defense.

Indeed, Venezuela deserves much credit. They defended with maturity, class, discipline and great panache.

Vega was a monster between the posts.

And Venezuela are the true winners of this 0 x 0, without a doubt. They did not panic and kept things cool at the back, effectively stopping the bombastic defending champions.

Well done, indeed.

And Mano’s Brazil, I’m afraid, continues to lack that much-needed playmaker, that once familiar samba flair…

For now, the mess will continue.

An intruding dog does what the Brazilians couldn't: to dribble past Vega (Enrique Marcarian/Reuters)

At the 27th minute of the first half, a dog invaded the pitch and the game was stopped for a few minutes as staff chased the animal around, until they got it out.

The dog was applauded by the crowds as it was taken off the pitch.

The only “player” to be truly applauded in this match.

Not world-class names like Neymar, Ganso or Alves.

A dog.



4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 4, 2011 8:53 am

    That was a quick response!

    Do you think that Menezes was wrong to start Ganso? The trouble is, he seems not to have a backup plan. I really want this Brazilian team to do well, as I think the Menezes’s fundamental philosophy is admirable, particularly after the muscularity of the Dunga years and the lopsidedness of the team that went to the 2006 World Cup. Unfortunately Brazil are clearly in a period of transition, and I think Menezes needs to find a trequartista who can slip seamlessly into the side in the absence of Ganso.

    • July 4, 2011 4:00 pm

      I’m fast, son!
      No, I don’t think he was wrong in playing Ganso, not at all. But he was wrong in not taking him out after the 55th minute. Ganso was dreadful.
      BUT, we all know he is wonderful, and can play. Indeed, there’s no doubt from me, and from most Brazilians, that he is our future number 10, guaranteed, taking the place of Kaka.
      Having said that, it was only his 2nd match with Brazil, and he’s coming off from a year of awful injuries. Remember how awful Kaka was against North Korea at the WC? But then he recovered and play wonderfully against Ivory Coast? It’s a similar thing.
      Mano left him on because he needs playing time. Lots of it.
      And yes, you’re correct, Mano right now has no proper back-up for Ganso. He’d tell us it’s Jadson, but that’s ridiculous. There’s Lucas Moura, the wonderkid from Sao Paulo FC, but he too is more of a speedy trequartista than an actual cerebral playmaker.
      Hernanes would have been interesting, but Mano doesn’t like to use him as a playmaker, and thus refuses to call him up.
      I too admire Mano’s desires and philosophy, but truth be told, he doesn’t have the necessary skill and experience to lead the squad to bring back the nostalgic Jogo Bonito.
      He dreams of something that he still hasn’t shown us he can deliver…
      We’ll see how he does in the coming weeks.

      • BrandonW permalink
        July 4, 2011 10:32 pm

        I couldn”t have said it better…

        Seeing this team is not the worst brazil we”ve seen but it has it”s players who raise eyebrows.
        Fred is one. Robinho might not raise an eyebrow but I have teh feeling that he is holding back his Joga Bonito .. Don”t get me wrong I love Robinho but he can do so much better then this therefore my question to you is.

        Would you preffer Hulk above Robinho ?

        Like Luxuryplayer said Brazil are in a peroid of transition.
        I keep hoping that someday there will be another golden age for the Brazilians… The samba that I grew up with once i first set eyes on Brazil.

        thanks for your response and keep on doing what your doing!! loving your articles =).

        Greetings from the Caribbean, Curacao.


  2. July 5, 2011 1:27 am

    Thanks for reading Brandon!

    In short, yes, I’d much rather see Hulk. Mano said he didn’t select him because Neymar and Robinho play in the same position. A cheap excuse.
    Hulk should have been there, and not Robinho. The same goes for Damiao, instead of Fred, and Hernanes, instead of Jadson.

    But common-sense never really was part of Brazilian football. 😉


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: