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Brazil Eliminate Brazil

July 18, 2011

Andre Santos takes his frustration out on the grass...oh, the grass.

Brazil 0 x 0 Paraguay (Penalties: 0 x 2) 

I saw my very first football match at a bar in London tonight.

In terms of authenticity, I couldn’t have asked for more.

Brazil were anxious, lacking creativity, and then self-imploded in desperate fashion by losing on a penalty shootout.

Brazil weren’t Brazil tonight. They were England!

And just like England, we’ve caught the “quarter-final crash bug”.

It was like that in 2006, 2010 and…tonight.

Quarter-finals: where Brazil goes to die.

Yes, the pitch was dreadful, no doubt about it (sandy much?!). But even more dreadful were Paraguay.

Paraguay desperately needed their front-man Santa Cruz, out injured. Without him, the team was an absolute mess, and all they could do was to defend. Defend. Defend…

But even more pathetic than the pitch, or Paraguay, were Brazil.

Pathetic.

A squad filled with creative world-class stars, but unable to split duties properly.

And for that we can only blame one man: Mano Menezes, the boss.

Robinho put on a fine performance, albeit he kept running down the wrong flank, to the left.

Everyone was packed down the left; Neymar, Robinho, Pato…

Often, you’d see Neymar moving to the center, taking over Ganso’s original spot (at least on paper), pretending to be a playmaker.

To the right: Maicon, who just couldn’t find his way into the box.

Brazil’s brain, Ganso, was nowhere to be seen, really. When the ball came to him, his passing was brilliant and precise.

But he was unable to go to the ball, to find the ball, to move towards the action…

Ganso, the “Goose”, was frozen, motionless. Without his wings.

Neymar created a few opportunities, but keeper Justo Villar – without a doubt the Man of the Match – stopped him twice.

Brazil’s dominance of the game was ridiculous. Paraguay did nothing; nothing whatsoever, but sit back and gamble on a draw…and possibly, penalties.

Mano Menezes took too long to make his substitutions. And when they came, they were the wrong ones.

Fred came on too late (Brazil still lack that true target man). Ganso left the game too late. Lucas Moura was not given enough time. And Elano…*cue sad trombone*

At times, it seemed Mano Menezes was the one pushing the game towards a penalty shootout – even though his team was clearly superior.

And into a penalty shootout, after yet another Copa America goalless draw, we found ourselves indeed.

That’s when the spirit of Capello’s squad descended upon the Brazilians.

Elano went up, and missed. Skying the ball into the dark clouds of La Plata. Thiago Silva went up, and missed. Landing it into the arms of Villar. Andre Santos went up (one question: why weren’t the forwards taking the kicks?), and he too missed it – and then he had a staring contest with the exploded grass on the pitch. And then Fred (a forward, woah) went up…and he too missed it.

At that point, I could only laugh.

Too bad no one wedgied themselves a la Martin Palermo.

That would have been fun.

Paraguay, after 4 consecutive draws, are through to the semi-finals. Brazil join hosts Argentina, and crash out.

In a way, Paraguay embody the spirit of this competition: pedestrian, slightly ugly and forgettable football, albeit not without its surprising moments…

The New Zealand of South America!

Copa America 2011: where football goes to die – or at least, to catch a bad cold.

I’m ‘knackered’. Excuse me while I hit the sack. It’s 1am in this fine and rainy island.

Just a final thought: fire Mano Menezes.

We all know Capello will be looking for a job very soon…

And then the transformation will be complete.

RB.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. BrandonW permalink
    July 18, 2011 1:46 am

    I can”t agree more .. Sack Menezes. Also what does surprise me is that he will hold on to the current players in the starting 11 which does surprise me… Pato Should’ve finished his shot. But Villar had it covered…

    He needs a true striker there. A number 9 we keep dreaming off… a new Ronaldo will never show up…and like you have said before… people expect that to happen. I won’t hope for it.
    Cause if Menezes will stay in charge, then my brazilian spirit is crushed. I”d rather watch Dunga”s side play.

    Cheers RB!

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