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USA 1 x 4 Brazil. And I liked it.

May 31, 2012

Neymar converts Brazil’s first goal with panache. A shady penalty call.


After the brilliant display in the first half of the game against Denmark – on May 26, with Brazil winning 3 x 1 – I became simultaneously excited and skeptical of the powers of this youthful Brazilian side.

After all, the quality of their game dropped immensely in the second half.

I thought their first half performance to be a fluke, due more to the poor quality of the Danish side than to the cliched Brazilian jogo bonito.

But, I must confess, the boys impressed me last night versus the USA again. And did much better than in that previous friendly, and against a relatively stronger opponent.

Brazil displayed grace and precision, excitement and attractive attacking football. Neymar, even playing at, say, 70% of his potential, scored a goal and provided two assists.


So, yes, I liked it!

However, let us not delude ourselves. Their youth and attacking mentality once again dropped in quality during the second half, and if it weren’t for Rafael Crabal’s stunning saves, the game could have easily ended 4 x 4.

The Santos keeper had a formidable night, and, personally, I truly hope Menezes keeps him in the starting position. Sure, Jefferson is fine, but he’s also 7 years older than Rafael, and given that the Olympics are coming up, we will need quality U23 players – and Rafael is just that: pure quality.

It can be said, and Brazilian journalist Juca Kfouri confirmed this, that their drop in quality has to do with their underdeveloped stamina – due to their youth – which translates into a shaky defense once the clock reaches the mark of the 70th minute.

That’s something Menezes will have to work on, hard, because if faced against true football powerhouses – and without a formidable Rafael Cabral – Brazil could easily give away any lead they gain during the first half.

But, for now, yes, I’m liking what I’m seeing.

Let us hope they continue to improve in their next challenge, versus Mexico, this coming Sunday.

Quick last thoughts: Marcelo was outstanding; Romulo and Sandro formed a very secure defensive-midfield duo; Pato is okay-ish; Leando Damiao needs to grow in confidence; Thiago Silva is truly great.

And enough with the pink boots…just enough.



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