Thursday, February 10, 2011
Mano's Brazil (Part 01 - Defensive System)
Despite the innocent red card for Hernanes, who kicked Benzema's chest, we should not say that the French victory by 1-0 against Brazil in the friendly match played this last Wednesday was unfair. However, exactly because Brazil played with one less man during the majority of the time, it is unjustifiable to blame Mano Menezes and his team for the bad outcome in the Stade de France. We should, on the other hand, analise and point out important aspects of Mano's career as the Head Coach of the Brazilian National Team. Here, in this blog, we are going to try to divide this analysis between defensive and ofensive part, even though we know that they are interconnected.
The first aspect is the correct decision taken by Mano to face hard challenges since the beginning of his career in the National Team, even if this decision results in some defeats, such as against the game yesterday against France and the game in last November, against Argentina. As we know, Brazil will not play the qualifications for the World Cup because they are the host nation; consequently, these tough friendly matches show the real level in which the National Team are able to compete at an international level this point and what has to be done in the future.It is a courageous decision taken by Mano, because defeats bring pressure from the press and the public, but he knows that this is necessary in order to properly prepare the National Team for the future.
The second aspect is the slow but constant evolution the definition of the starters and the game style of Mano's team. People say a good team should start being build from the defense, and Mano has Brazil's defense almost all defined. The goalie is Julio Cesar, who was brilliant against France yesterday and should be starter for the next years, even though he made a mistake against Netherlands in South Africa. Mano's defenders, Thiago Silva (Milan-ITA) and David Luiz (Chelsea-ENG) make a young but very competent and respect defense at an international level. It seems like they play together for much more than only 5 games, showing confidence, good covering capacity and ability to start passing the ball. In addition to the evolution they are going to achieve by constantly playing together, they will learn a lot in the future in their clubs, with their respective defense partners, who are "only" Alessandro Nesta and John Terry. In the right side of the defense, Mano prefers Daniel Alves (Barcelona-SPA) instead of Maicon (Inter-ITA). I think they both are good enough to be starters, but Daniel has played better than Maicon this season and so he deserves a chance.
The first Mano's indecision is about the left side of the defense, an old problem in the National Team that has been occurring since Roberto Carlos left the National Squad in 2006 and so during the whole period in which Dunga was the Head Coach. Benzema's goal was built in a play made by Menez, who had a lot of free space to play in the back of Andre Santos (Fenerbahce-TUR) in the left side. Indeed, during the whole second half, France builty its offensive actions in the back of this Brazilian defender. Andre is a good player, with good offensive skills, but he is not able to defend as required at this level, and so he should not be the left defender in the national team. Mano should give a chance to Marcelo, who has been in constant evolution with Jose Mourinho regards defensive aspects, and still has the same offensive skills that Andre Santos has. It is a fact that Mano was mad with Marcelo because he asked for exemption from the practice period in Barcelona and stayed practicing in Madrid last year, but Mano already shows that this is in the past by putting him on the bench again yesterday.
In the midfield, Mano defines Lucas (Liverpool-ENG) as his defensive midfielder, a player that is able to be constantly marking, but is able to have good quality in touching the ball. Yesterday against France, Elias was the midfielder, playing more in the right side of the field, looking for building plays with Dani Alves and initiate fast counter-attacks. However, in the following games, as it has been occuring before, Ramires should play in this function.
In 5 games, and 2 defeats for traditional teams, Mano shows that there is still a lot left to do, but that He has started in the correct way, already defining the defensive system for the National team in an efficient way. Against France, the defense had a good behavior considering the fact Brazil played with one less player for more than a half; and against Argentina, the fact that the offensive part is not ready yet was a decisive factor for the result, since Messi scored by getting the ball from the offensive midfielder Douglas (Gremio-BRA). The basis for a team who is going to try to propose an offensive way to play is well built by Mano in 6 months since he has been the Brazil's Head Coach.
The way Brazil played yesterday against France:
The way Brazil is likely going to play in the future: