BBC BLOGS - Tim Vickery
« Previous | Main | Next »

Brazil happy to experiment

Post categories:

Tim Vickery | 07:50 UK time, Monday, 11 October 2010

Brazil will expect another commanding performance from Thiago Silva when they take on Ukraine at Derby's Pride Park in an international friendly on Monday.

The 26-year-old Milan defender was in fine form in last Thursday's 3-0 win over Iran - especially important as his centre-back partner David Luiz had a poor game, obliging Thiago Silva to show off his excellent sense of cover.

In the World Cup, Thiago Silva was a reserve to the old firm of Juan and Lucio. Just three months later, he is the rock on which Brazil's defence is based, highlighting the speed of the generational change taking place under new coach Mano Menezes.

And offering a clear contrast with Argentina.

Brazil defender Thiago Silva in action for AC Milan

Brazil defender Thiago Silva in action for AC Milan. Photo: Getty


For Friday's 1-0 defeat to Japan, and last month's 4-1 win over Spain, Martin DeMichelis and Gabriel Milito were in the heart of the Argentine defence. Both players have their virtues, though neither has always looked comfortable at international level. And, at about the 30 mark, it is unlikely that they will feature in the next World Cup.

The centre-back situation shows how Brazil are already building for 2014, while Argentina are stuck in limbo.

Who will lead them forward? And with what philosophy of play? At the moment, in the figure of 1986 World Cup-winning midfielder Sergio Batista, they have a caretaker coach.

This might provide an opportunity for experimentation but Batista wants the job on a permanent basis and is being forced to fight every inch of the way.

His principal adversary is his predecessor and former team-mate Diego Maradona. This column has always tried to be fair to one of the all-time greats.

There were positive aspects of Maradona's reign. He took over at a difficult moment and his record in charge was not as bad as many tried to make out - until he was carried away by euphoria and sent out an unbalanced side to be thrashed by Germany.

In 2006, Jose Pekerman's side lost on penalties to the Germans after dominating the game against that year's World Cup hosts.

When they came home to a heroes' welcome, Maradona said that there was nothing to celebrate, that Argentina should aspire to something more.

By the same criteria, then, there are no grounds for Maradona to continue in the job after his team were taken apart by the same opposition on neutral territory.

But on the campaign trail for a re-instatement, Maradona has tried to pull rank, mentioning his friendship with Argentina's first family, the president and her husband and predecessor.

He has sought to undermine Batista, saying that no one knows who he is, even in neighbouring Uruguay. Batista has other candidates to worry about, - Estudiantes coach Alejandro Sabella especially.

Brazil coach Menezes has been told that early results are not so important, that he has time to build a side and will be supported in good times and bad.

In contrast, Sergio Batista is working on the opposite basis - that his fate will be determined by results.

There is, then, no incentive at all for him to blood some younger centre-backs and run the risk of paying for their inexperience.

Does any of this matter? There are mitigating circumstances.

Brazil and Argentina are not in the same boat. As the next World Cup, hosts Brazil will not have the benefit of a qualification campaign to whip their side into shape. It is no surprise, then, that their preparation has begun earlier.

And whoever takes over Argentina, the focus is likely to be on the short term. Next year, Argentina host the Copa America.

Without a senior title since 1993, the pressure will be on them to win, thus extending the shelf life of the likes of DeMichelis and Gaby Milito.

A younger team for 2014 can be forged during the course of South America's ultra-competitive World Cup qualifiers.

And anyway, in the four-year cycle, this is the season when South American national sides are most concerned with making money.

For three years of that cycle, their time is taken up with the marathon qualifying format. This is the moment now for them to cash in on the prestige earned earlier this year in South Africa - hence the fact that at the moment many of the South American sides are clocking up the air miles on the way to the Middle and the Far East.

Even so, I would argue the fact Argentina are in a footballing limbo does matter - it has the potential to make a mockery of the extraordinary passion of the players for pulling on their national team shirt.

Many of the South Americans make sacrifices to play for their national team that would be beyond lots of European players - especially in terms of travelling.

When they make the long trip to play a friendly in Japan, Argentina's players want to feel that they are representing their country and also that the match forms part of a process in which a team is being prepared for the battles ahead.

They do not want to be mere cash cows for their football association, or gambling chips in a game of poker where the prize is a contract to become national team coach.

It does not make sense to force Lionel Messi to the other side of the world and make him play a full 90 minutes when common sense would be better served by him putting his feet up and ensuring there is gas in the tank at the serious end of the season.

Comments on the piece in the space provided. Questions on South American football to vickerycolumn@hotmail.com, and I'll pick a couple out for next week.

From last week's postbag:

Q) I was just wondering what ever happened to Renato Augusto? A player you referred to as the 'right-footed Rivaldo' Just seeing clips of him online he looks a very exciting player; great dribbling skills and an eye for a pass.

I know he's at Leverkusen but has not featured in the Brazil senior squad as of yet. It seems as though he has dropped off the radar a little do you think he can still be a star for Brazil with the likes of Coutinho, Paulo Henrique Ganso, and Anderson who play in the same position as him?
Monty Hallaq

I might have laid it on a bit thick with the 'right-footed Rivaldo' thing but no doubt that he's a very interesting player. One of his characteristics - passing - was missing for Brazil against Iran. Robinho, Carlos Eduardo and Philippe Coutinho were too similar to operate together - they all want to run with the ball and there was not enough passing.

A pity, perhaps, that Renato Augusto is not in the Champions League to push his claims, but he's a player entitled to feel that he could figure in the rebuilt Brazil squad.

Error: Too many requests have been made during a short time period so you have been blocked.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Maradona needs to prove himself as a manager somewhere else before he takes the national job again, the job at the moment needs somebody experienced who knows how to handle transitional squads, much like Pekerman a few years ago.

  • Comment number 2.

    I'm expecting big things from Thiago Silva. I'm a big AC Milan fan, and think that him partnering Nesta for maybe a couple more years will turn Thiago into one of the best defenders in the World.

  • Comment number 3.

    I have won tickets to tonights game at Pride Park, really looking forward to it. Not sure how many 'stars' will feature though.

  • Comment number 4.

    Brazil does have the benefit of a world-class defender in Thiago Silva and the up and coming defender David Luiz in building a new defence. Argentina has Otamendi, who only just made the transition to European football and maybe Burdisso, who has never quite developed into a top defender. Since my knowledge on the players in South American competitions is limited, I'm wondering if you can name a any other good Argentinean defenders under 30, Tim?

  • Comment number 5.

    Hi Tim, nice article as usual. It's great to see South American football getting some coverage in the mainstream UK media.

    I have a question, how do you rate Newell's Old Boys midfielder Mauro Formica? He scored 2 goals in the Sudamericana this week then another in the league on Saturday. The reason I ask is that I've seen him called the "new Maradona" which I think is frankly ridiculous.

    http://southamerican-futbol.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-maradona.html

  • Comment number 6.

    Tim, what are your views on Nico Gaitan? Will he be able to build on his few caps for Argentina and maybe cement a place in the squad, either first team or as a substitute?

  • Comment number 7.

    Argentina need an intelligent manager who can make their attacking talent gel. Maradona isn't that man.

    As for Brazil, I think they're right in experimenting. Results don't really matter at all for the next couple of years. Hosting the World Cup will be such a huge occasion for them that rseults wise nothing that happens between now and then doesn't really matter as long as develop the team and are able to peak in 2014.

  • Comment number 8.

    The centre back situation shows how Brazil are already building for 2014, while Argentina are stuck in limbo.
    -----------
    Given that Brazil have the distinct advantage of not having to qualify it is unsurprising that they have more freedom to experiment is it?





    When they came home to a heroes welcome Maradona said that there was nothing to celebrate, that Argentina should aspire to something more.

    By the same criteria, then, there are no grounds for Maradona to continue in the job after his team were taken apart by the same opposition on neutral territory.
    ----------
    And how do you work that out? Maradona never called for Peckerman's head, he just said there was no reason to celebrate, the two things are NOT equal.




    Many of the South Americans make sacrifices to play for their national team that would be beyond lots of European players - especially in terms of travelling.

    When they make the long trip to play a friendly in Japan, Argentina's players want to feel that they are representing their country, and also that the match forms part of a process in which a team is being prepared for the battles ahead.
    -----------
    More tripe!

    The vast majority of Europeans would travel to compete for their national side if required to. A handful will choose to rest occasionally from a friendly if they have a niggle but then so do the Brazilians.

  • Comment number 9.

    1. At 09:30am on 11 Oct 2010, Were Ngoging to Ibiza wrote:

    Maradona needs to prove himself as a manager somewhere else before he takes the national job again, the job at the moment needs somebody experienced who knows how to handle transitional squads, much like Pekerman a few years ago.
    ---------
    Not sure I agree on the reasons but I agree Maradona is not the right man for now. It's not experience he is lacking so much as tactical knowledge.

    I don't think he can go away and prove himself either as he is clearly not cut out to be a club manager, perhaps he could take on a smaller national team but I'd be surprised.

  • Comment number 10.

    David Luiz is nowhere near to his last season's form. I was dissapointed Tim that you said he had a poor game but not overly surprised.
    He looks unsettled and maybe the millions have got to his head. Just today the Portuguese press reported Chelsea and Manchester City are the ones likely to battle it out for him again, maybe in January? Hope not.

  • Comment number 11.

    I love Renato Augusto! He was, prior to his injuries last year, one of my favourite Leverkusen players.

    However, he's played on the right too often. With Helmes, Kiessling and Derdiyok all good enough to play at most top clubs in Europe, it's near to impossible to play a one striker formation. Ballack, Vidal, Reinartz, Bender, Balitsch or whoever plays in the centre are all deep box-to-box passing midfielders; there is no need for an 'enganche', it's not Leverkusen's way. This, unlike players like Kaka, means that he has to do his work from the wing.

    Elano, Ramires, Hernanes, etc all hold similar stories. They're all players that are born to play in the middle, but the evolution of tactics has meant that their work is only viable when done from the wing.

    Michael Cox of Zonal Marking highlights this here:
    http://www.zonalmarking.net/2010/03/26/trequartista-engance-classic-no-10sstruggle/

  • Comment number 12.


    I just wonder why Batista continues to call up the same defenders Maradona did. It does not make much sense to start them when they are utter failures for the NT. He has the likes of Garay,Fazio,Angeleri,Ansaldi,Zabaleta but it just does not make much sense. Even put in Otamendi as a CB(His real position not a RB). Batista seems like he does not want this job. Also what is the deal with starting D'Alessandro or Pastore? D'Alessandro is going to be a bit old for 2014(33) Pastore will be about 25. So what is Batista really waiting for? He also has Di Maria who comes in late, or never calls up a talented kid like Diego Perotti from Sevilla.

    So my question is, why doesn't he call up new faces for the defense?

  • Comment number 13.

    Brilliant blog Tim and so insightful to the footballing/cultural climate of the day in South America as usual.

    @4 Ezequiel Garay is 24 and has been operating in the Spanish top flight for a few years now. He was an exciting prospect at Racing Santander and scored very regularly from set piece play in the way Roberto Ayala used to do at Valencia. Was bought by Real Madrid in 2008 but I suspect as a long term prospect because he was loaned back to Racing Santander soon after. Hope he gets the chance to fully prove himself at RM because he was pretty awesome in the number of games I watched him play at Racing.. I'm confident he is the future of the Argentine defence.

    I think just as problematic is the long-term replacement of the full back positions which used to add richness to their intricate passing by providing width so that their forward players (who are not traditional wingers) can drift in field where they are most effective. There haven;t been adequate replacement for Sorin and Javier Zanetti - who I think has been the best player in the world over the last 15 years in terms of consistent world class performances at the top level season after season. The stop gaps of playing centre backs and domestic level fullbacks in these positions haven't really worked (although Clemente Rodriguez performed admirably at the world cup)

  • Comment number 14.

    Tim, good article, always an interesting read.

    You got me thinking about the approach that Brazil are taking and wondered whether it was circumstance or more of a cultural (in footballing terms) stance.

    The list of players that Brazil have omitted since the World Cup is an impressive one -- take Lucio, for example, widely regarded as one of the best centre halves in the world, but at 32 has been dropped from the squad in preference for youth. Compare this to Rio Ferdinand, 32 next month, who is likely to play for England on Tuesday night.

    Is the Brazilian stance purely down to the circumstance that they do not have a qualifying campaign this year (unlike England who have the Euros) or is it that the Brazilian press and public are more understanding in the need to bed in a new team ready for the next World Cup ? If Brazil were involved qualifying for the Copa America, would there be the wholesale changes that Menezes has made ?

    Or is it more the depth of talent available - ie they have a potential ready made replacement in Thiago Silva ?

  • Comment number 15.

    Surprised to read David Luiz had a poor game: always thought he looked very impressive whenever I've seen him in action for Benfica.

    Thiago Silva is a great player, and has been lucky enough to learn from the best, namely Alessandro Nesta, at Milan. Also, I don't think it should be underestimated that he was nearly 24 years old when moving to Europe, and had been an established player in Brazil for a while before going abroad. (See also: Hernanes, who's currently doing magnificently well at Lazio.)

    Compare to Argentina and the difference is stark: the truth is they've had a number of hugely talented centre-backs in recent years, but none of them have been able to make that final step.

    Some, like Gonzalo Rodriguez of Villarreal, have been hampered by injury. Others, like Ezequiel Garay, have made unwise transfer decisions: he was imperious as a youngster at Racing Santander, but then moved to Real Madrid where he rarely gets a game, and when he does play he looks slow and out of touch.

    Even younger players like Ezequiel Munoz and Juan Daniel Forlin seem to have moved across the Atlantic too soon: the former is clearly talented, but at Palermo he's expected to perform at a level for which he isn't yet ready (watching him being humiliated time and again by Inter's Samuel Eto'o was genuinely painful). The latter appears to suffer from a somewhat inconsistent selection policy at Espanyol, now appearing at centre-back, now in defensive midfield, which can't be ideal during this stage of his development.

  • Comment number 16.

    Tim Vickery - Do you have the best job in the world???

  • Comment number 17.

    Batista isn't bad, as was demonstrated by the 4-1 thrashing of Spain & the 1-0 win over Ireland. I don't know whether another Maradona spell would be the best thing right now, I do get the feeling that eventually he'll come back to the NT in some capacity. Maradona is like that old Carlos Gardel expression, he's like "Mala Yerba" which is not easy to get out of your system.

    My thing is, this is it? This is the best Argentina has to offer? A care-taker coach and a former drug-addict egomaniac? How do you feel about former Uruguayan NT coach Juan Ramon Carrasco, wouldn't he be the most logical choice for a team that wants to play like Spain? I know, I know, kind of weak... not too many good choices out there on either side of the Rio De La Plata.

  • Comment number 18.

    Crikey, Tim, in one column you have just mentioned the two worst defenders in european football at the moment; Demichelis and Thiago Silva. I don't wish to offend anybody who likes either of them, but both are as bad as eachother. Neither can position himself properly (see Milan vs Ajax and, well... every Bayern match) they have the turning circle of the titanic and... well... just can't defend for toffee! The only way south american teams are going to win the world cup is by finding some decent defenders...

  • Comment number 19.

    The list of players that Brazil have omitted since the World Cup is an impressive one -- take Lucio, for example, widely regarded as one of the best centre halves in the world, but at 32 has been dropped from the squad in preference for youth. Compare this to Rio Ferdinand, 32 next month, who is likely to play for England on Tuesday night.

    Is the Brazilian stance purely down to the circumstance that they do not have a qualifying campaign this year (unlike England who have the Euros) or is it that the Brazilian press and public are more understanding in the need to bed in a new team ready for the next World Cup ?
    -------------
    It's because England have another major tournament in 2 years time which Ferdinand will probably still be in the squad for whereas Brazil are happy to write off anything from now until 2014.

  • Comment number 20.

    14. At 11:50am on 11 Oct 2010, Nottm-Spur wrote:
    Tim, good article, always an interesting read.

    You got me thinking about the approach that Brazil are taking and wondered whether it was circumstance or more of a cultural (in footballing terms) stance.

    The list of players that Brazil have omitted since the World Cup is an impressive one -- take Lucio, for example, widely regarded as one of the best centre halves in the world, but at 32 has been dropped from the squad in preference for youth. Compare this to Rio Ferdinand, 32 next month, who is likely to play for England on Tuesday night

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Also Brazil probably have a better depth in young talent that is coming through, dare I say it. Name an english central defender between the age of 18 and 25 who is currently better or potentially better than Rio Ferdinand. Rodwell and Phil Jones have promise, but even they are currently playing in midfield for their clubs at the moment. Sorry to revert to an english domestic debate but Brazil have always produced more genuine youthful talent than England.

  • Comment number 21.

    Many neutrals (particularily England fans) often said Maradona won the 1986 World Cup single-handedly ;) but surely the lack of respect he's shown towards former teammate Batista saying 'no one knows who he is, even in neighbouring Uruguay' just demonstrates the little man's incredibly huge ego? What did Batista have to say to Diego's remark?

    From what Tim's said it looks like Argentina U-20's might struggle to qualify for the London Olympics alongside the Samba Kings in Peru next year, which is a shame!? Are the likes of Fazio or Insua not capable of making the step up to the seniors, who are the next generation?

  • Comment number 22.

    @ 19: the Copa America is a major tournament, at least in the eyes of South Americans, who view it as an opportunity for continental bragging rights.
    Phil, how's about an article on the fascinating climax to the Brasileirão that is building up, especially as I think it serves as a valuable preview for the current EPL season? Both are probably as evenly matched as they have ever been, with teams expecting to challenge for the top spots dropping points, to an unprecedented degree, against those expected to be fighting relegation. It's all shaping up for an exciting tussle at both ends of the table. Also, how do you think the fact that the first deciding factor between teams that are equal on points, in Brazil, is games won, as opposed to goal difference, affects the priorities - for better or worse - in the two leagues?

  • Comment number 23.

    21 - as a maradona fan, and someone who has always tried to be fair to him, i've been disappointed with his conduct on this one.

    i suppose it does have its funny side - batista said that the players prefer a low profile coach (which in truth was a fairly high profile way of differentiating himself from maradona)

    to which maradona replied - it's easy for him to be low profile - he scored 3 goals in his career, i scored hundreds.

    funny, but not very dignified.

  • Comment number 24.

    #18 The only person who should be offended by your comment is Chris Wilby, who unfortunately comes across as a bit of an idiot.

    You quote one recent mistake as evidence that Thiago Silva is useless, but have you watched him play regularly, for example in Serie A?

  • Comment number 25.

    Any chance we could calm down about Brasil until they play someone you don't expect them to beat with ease?

    Exactly the same problem with England. We do well in a qualifying group not involving any world powers & then head off to a World Cup talking about winning it.

    Like England, lets wait until Brasil play someone that can truly offer a challenge & then we can talk about what a wonderful job the new coach is doing.

  • Comment number 26.

    At 4:33pm on 11 Oct 2010, Tim Vickery - BBC Sport wrote:
    21 - as a maradona fan, and someone who has always tried to be fair to him, i've been disappointed with his conduct on this one.

    i suppose it does have its funny side - batista said that the players prefer a low profile coach (which in truth was a fairly high profile way of differentiating himself from maradona)

    to which maradona replied - it's easy for him to be low profile - he scored 3 goals in his career, i scored hundreds.

    funny, but not very dignified.
    _________________________________________________________

    I am a Maradona fan as well and dissapointed in him here. I remember clearly an interview with Maradona in the mid 80's and he could not praise Batistia enough. We went on and on about how important Batsita was to the team, and how good and professional Batista was.
    Now he must undo everything he said about Batista..

  • Comment number 27.

    25 - you've missed the point. it's not about results brazil are achieving - it's about a new direction they are taking.

  • Comment number 28.

    Back on form, good work squire. Viva Thiago!

  • Comment number 29.

    The list of players that Brazil have omitted since the World Cup is an impressive one -- take Lucio, for example, widely regarded as one of the best centre halves in the world, but at 32 has been dropped from the squad in preference for youth. Compare this to Rio Ferdinand, 32 next month, who is likely to play for England on Tuesday night.

    Is the Brazilian stance purely down to the circumstance that they do not have a qualifying campaign this year (unlike England who have the Euros) or is it that the Brazilian press and public are more understanding in the need to bed in a new team ready for the next World Cup ?
    -------------
    It's because England have another major tournament in 2 years time which Ferdinand will probably still be in the squad for whereas Brazil are happy to write off anything from now until 2014.
    -------------

    Is it though ? I think that if Lucio were English and at 32 regarded as one of the best centre halves in the world, then even if they didn't have a tournament until 2014, he would still be in the first team.

    Also, how likely are Brazil (press or public) to be happy to write off "anything" until 2014. I would have guessed that a poor showing leading upto and including the Copa America would create massive pressure especially with the tournament on home soil.

    If Brazil had a poor showing at the Copa and some of the old guard (Lucio, Cesar etc) still performing well at their clubs, would their be an outcry for these players to return ? Hypothetical I know, but that was the essence of my original comment. In England, with the press and public pressure, then I know what would happen (Beckham being an example of this), what would the Brazilian reaction be ?

  • Comment number 30.

    @ 29: quite simply, they won't, as I made brief reference to @ No.22 and you have elaborated on here.
    The job of coaching Brazil towards the 2014 World Cup is a poison pill and Mano Menezes is a very brave man (as I know he's not stupid) to have taken it on. Brazilians still haven't fully digested their loss in the 1950 final and anything less than the next title will simply not be satisfactory. Dunga was under unbearable pressure in South Africa, but those pressures are going to be magnified in the home tournament. Although things have started quietly, and a certain amount of pandering to popular demand (for renewal and a more attractive style) has taken place, when we get to the Copa America, the public, pundits and media are all going to be calling for evidence that the progress towards building a team to win in 2014 is advancing nicely, and it will be Mano's first big test. He's an excellent, well balanced professional who I have great respect for, but that's no guarantee that he will survive the frenzy that will build up over the next four years, unfortunately.

  • Comment number 31.

    I was at the match last night and came away with more questions than answers!

    Brazil were dominant, but it was difficult to tell how much of that was down to Ukraine’s ineptness. Thiago Silva and David Luiz were rarely troubled, but looked comfortable. We already knew Dani Alves’ qualities and that Brazil possess the two finest right backs in world football. At left back, Andre Santos did well in his 45, but I still think Marcelo is a better long term option.

    Lucas started in the centre of the park with Ramires, and looked a far neater and tidier player than he does for the scousers, Ramires flitted in and out. This was my first glimpse of Elias – he came in for Philippe Coutinho, and appeared to be playing as the central player of the attacking midfield 3 in a 4-2-3-1. I was led to believe that Elias is a more defensive minded midfielder and he didn’t look fully comfortable in the attacking role – I’d go as far as saying his better work was done when he dropped deeper to pick up the ball. Perhaps the coaching staff missed a trick and Lucas could have played further forward and Elias deeper, as Lucas was known as a more attacking player in Brazil before coming to England and finding Steven Gerrard occupying the space he liked to occupy. What a shame Ganso was injured.

    Carlos Eduardo looked pretty good on the right hand side, although you get the impression he’s keeping the shirt warm for when a more established player comes back in to the fold for next year’s Copa America or Neymar proves he has the discipline to play a prominent part. Robinho played to the gallery a bit with flicks, stopovers etc – one particularly scooped pass springs to mind – but I thought he was at the centre of most of Brazil’s good stuff.

    Alexandre Pato was fantastic, a constant thorn in Ukraine’s defence, and the guy has obviously put some effort in to making himself more of a presence – he has really bulked out. I think there’s no doubt that this guy will be the centre forward for Brazil for the next two World Cups.

    One other thing – 13,000??? Come on people, make an effort!

  • Comment number 32.

    Brazil had another good display yesterday (2-0), and another clean sheet too.

    But Ukraine should have scored, they hit the post and had a goal ruled out, which was harsh I think (? - missed that bit).

    Pato should have been called up to South Africa as well.

  • Comment number 33.

    I went last night and was very impressed by a new look but at times, mesmerising Brazil XI.
    I don't think the ball left the Ukraine half for the first 10 minutes...a lot of passing, very fluid, speedy and everyone looked very comfortable on the ball.
    It was like night and day compared to Brazil of 3 months ago.

    The core standouts for me were Luis, Pato, Eduardo and Alves.

  • Comment number 34.

    I was there last night too. Dani Alves was a class act and probably the best player out there.

    Ukraine were very poor though, but the disallowed goal was harsh.

    My only criticism of Brazil was the lack of a real flair player in central midfield that could unlock a few more chances. Given the poor quality opposition I felt Brazil did not need Lucas, Ramires and Elias in the middle as ball winners. Pato was excellent but had to make most of his chances himself, a more attack minded central midfielder would have made a big difference in my opinion.

  • Comment number 35.

    #31 For all his talent, Marcelo needs to work extremely hard on his positioning if he's ever to become a serious option at left-back. Every time he comes up against a top-class winger, he gets skint: witness, for example, his utter humiliation at the feet of Jesus Navas for Real v Sevilla last season. In my view, he's more of a left-sided (or even central) midfielder than a full-back.
    When fit and in form, Filipe Luis should be Brazil's first-choice left-back. Strong defensively, quick, very tenacious, and arguably La Liga's best crosser of a ball: the Poles must be tearing themselves apart with frustration at the fact that he could've played for them!

  • Comment number 36.

    Surely now is as good a time for Brazil and Argentina to look at their defence and start the overhaul.
    DeMichelis and Milito are not going to cut it for Argentina and will not
    get them moving, it's such a shame when you have so much quality going forward but can't offer anything in return at the back.

    As for Brazil, the time has come for them to start experimenting but I don't think that Thiago Silva is what they need. He's a decent defender but not a world class defender that can organise his defence and with people like Maicon,David Luiz and Andre Santos who all seem to have one thing in common, lack of leadership.

    It's intriguing that the Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk has been sounding out Douglas Franco Teixeira for citizenship in order to play for the Netherlands. If they guy is good enough to be considered for the Dutch squad shouldn't he be considered for the seleção?

  • Comment number 37.

    Some posts mention that Brazil does not have a big tournment until 2014, whereas England has the Euro and Argentina will give a lot of importance to Copa America... Brazil in its turn will certainly treat as a top priority London 2012, that will definitely be big tournment for the Selecao, and in only 2 years time. That explains Mano's choice to select a bigger number of youngsters - granted though that some of the new faces will not be able to play in the Olympics, Thiago Silva being one of them.

    ALso, I have not read anywhere that Mano is firmly intended to definitely drop Lucio or other experienced names that went to South Africa. I am confident that in time not only Lucio, but also Maicon, Kaka and Cesar will be eased back, as we certtainly have still a lot to gain from their experience. It is just really that at the moment Mano's priority is to experiment so he will need to open space for the selection of non-tested players.

  • Comment number 38.

    Mr Vickery,

    Great article, it is very interesting and refreshing the approach that Brazil have to future success in International tournaments. Clearly they have the abitility, whether advantageous or not, to create a squad of young future (2014 WC)stars and allow them to properly get a feel for playing in the national team as they are not burdened with needing to get the vital qualifing points in these friendly matches.

    Another thing that I note when watching a brazil friendly is that they always are looking to win the match which is normally reflected in the positive results they achieve compared to other percieved strong nations when it comes to friendlies.

    On the Iran game, I would completely agree that David Luiz did not have a good game and looked a bit clumsy albeit for me he is more of a ball winner than a ball player.

    Question for Tim - Is it time for Argentina to source a coach that is a little more denfensively minded?

  • Comment number 39.

    Hi Tim, great blog as always.

    I see Hibs are considering Brazilian chap Baltemar Brito as their new manager. All I know about him was apparently an assistant to Mourinho, not sure what you know about him, but given the connection wondered what your thoughts were?

  • Comment number 40.

    Very low attendence

    Just down to logistics and circumstances? or is the Brazil brand not what it was?

  • Comment number 41.

    I thought the £30 (or £35 by the time fees were taken in to account) was a little steep, and it was poorly advertised, even if it was a last minute thing to switch it to Derby.

  • Comment number 42.

    sent out an unbalanced side to be thrashed by Germany
    ___________

    maybe he thought it was the thing to do.

  • Comment number 43.

    Tim,

    I think you need to clarify Menezes position though. Yes, being hosts removes the qualification pressure, but I'd suggest that Menezes being able to use this time to blood a new generation is still very much results dependent.

    Menezes is what? two bad results? maybe not even that before the criticism is liable to start in multiple quarters. Yes, his bosses may have given him a lot of rope, but he'd do well to remember they aren't the only ones who can give it a short, sharp jerk!

  • Comment number 44.

    Tim, write it down: Brazil has put next Olympic Games as their first major target. That is why so many young players are being tested.
    The reason for this is that an olympic title is the only title that Brazil doesn’t have. In fact, whoever makes a good figure at the Olympics will most likely make it to the next world cup.

  • Comment number 45.

    Another good piece Tim, I look forward to your blogs.
    How are early preparations going in Brazil and do you think they will host a vibrant and successful tournament?
    In theory, it could well be the best yet.

    http://scottssportsandsocial.blogspot.com/

  • Comment number 46.

    É bem lembrado do renato augusto acho que realmente valeria a pena o mano convoca-lo,ainda mais nessa fase...
    e po vc escreve muito bem,alias,melhor que varios comentaristas brasileiros que "deveriam" ter total conhecimento do nosso futebol.
    parabens.

 

More from this blog...

Topical posts on this blog

This information is temporarily unavailable.

Categories

These are some of the popular topics this blog covers.

Latest contributors

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.