As expected, the CBF have appointed Luiz Felipe Scolari, Felipão, as the new head coach of the seleção, replacing Mano Menezes. The clues were laid out for all to see when Felipão was appointed as a consultant to the Ministry of Sport at the end of September, not long after leaving his post as head coach of Palmeiras.
While on the one hand Mano Menezes is cold, serious and thoughtful, Felipão is charismatic, cheery, and has a far better connection with the Brazilian public. Considering the magnitude of the task of leading Brazil to the 2014 World Cup, Felipão’s personality fits the bill. Continue reading
Writing in The Guardian’s Sport Blog recently, Jonathan Wilson explored the influence Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa (and his methods) has had on the modern game. Wilson, author of Inverting the Pyramid and editor of quarterly football magazine The Blizzard, suggests that in recent years football ‘has gone through a process of Bielsafication’.
While Bielsa confronts training ground site managers in the Basque Country, back in his hometown of Rosario one of his former players is spearheading a bielsaissance in the stadium bearing El Loco’s name. The club is Argentine primera side Newell’s Old Boys, and the former player is Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino.
Martino, who turned 50 last Tuesday, returned to La Lepra this year for the first time since leaving in 1996. Since then he has made a successful transition from playing to management, and encountered great success in Paraguay, winning several league titles with Libertad and Cerro Porteño before taking over the national side in 2007.
Following the dismissal of head coach Diego Cagna, it was rumoured Newell’s were trying to bring back Marcelo Bielsa as his replacement. Of course, this never came to pass, but in Tata Martino they certainly got the next best thing. Continue reading
Posted in Argentina, Club teams, Team analysis
Tagged 4-1-4-1, Argentina, Gerardo Martino, Hernán Villalba, Marcelo Bielsa, Newell's Old Boys, pressing, transitions, verticality
1. Colombia sacrificed midfield creativity for wing play – and it paid off
Since taking the Colombia job, Argentine coach José Pékerman has established a basic standard of selecting four defenders, two deep midfielders, and four attackers. Within these parameters, there are a number of variations Pékerman can make, depending on the match situation and the level of opposition.
One of the main variations concerns the deep midfield duo, and is a choice between creativity and solidity. On the one hand, you have Fredy Guarín of Internazionale and Monarcas’ Aldo Leão Ramírez – both strong, competitive midfielders, but with great vision and a wide passing range. On the other, there are players like Deportivo’s Abel Aguilar, Valenciennes’ Carlos Sánchez and Fluminense’s Edwin Valencia. All three are holding midfielders, tasked with breaking up play and covering Colombia’s marauding full-backs. Continue reading
Posted in International, Match analysis
Tagged Brazil, Colombia, Cuadrado, Diego Alves, Falcao, Jackson Martínez, James Rodríguez, Mano Menezes, Neymar, Paulinho, Pékerman, Ramires, Seleção
Flu champions, Palmeiras (almost) relegated
Fluminense clinched a thrilling late victory in the torrid Presidente Prudente sun to seal their fourth national championship trophy. With three rounds still to play in the Campeonato Brasileiro 2012, the Tricolor knew that a win against Palmeiras and a home win or draw in the Vasco x Atlético-MG match (which ended 1-1) would see them create an insurmountable lead over the chasing pack.
Palmeiras, on the other hand, are battling against a seemingly inevitable relegation, and had other results in the round gone against them they could have been condemned to Série B earlier than expected. Fortunately for them, Portuguesa and Bahia lost their respective matches, keeping Palmeiras’ hopes alive (albeit hanging by the tiniest of threads) even after their latest defeat.
Fluminense took a 2-0 lead, but conceded twice through set-pieces in the second half. Just as the title champagne was being put on ice for another day, league top scorer Fred converted his 19th goal of the season to win the match 3-2. Continue reading
Posted in Brazil, Match analysis
Tagged 4-2-3-1, 4-4-2, Abel Braga, Brasileirão, Brazil, Deco, diamond midfield, Fluminense, Gilson Kleina, Palmeiras, set-pieces
There has been a distinct lack of tactical interest in this year’s Campeonato Brasileiro. A large majority of teams play a similar style of football, heavily based on long balls, aerial play, and individualism. Petty fouls and simulation are also rampant, resulting in several drab, stop-start matches which are often reduced to two or three players repeatedly attempting individual moves until they inevitably get one right. Few sides actually play as a team, with the exception of (strangely enough) the top four.
Top of the pile – and with good reason
First and second-placed respectively, Fluminense and Atlético-MG play more or less the same system – a compact 4-2-3-1. What makes this formation so effective are the rapid transitions from defence to attack and vice versa. Continue reading
Posted in Brazil, Club teams, Team analysis
Tagged 3-5-2, 4-2-1-3, 4-2-3-1, Arsenal, Atlético-MG, Brasileirão, Brazil, Copa Sulamericana, Denílson, Fluminense, Ganso, Grêmio, Jádson, Lucas, Ney Franco, São Paulo, three man defence, transitions, two banks of four
Believe it or not, but Manchester United and Arsenal have been linked in an unexpected way. Fans of both clubs know that the teams are bitter rivals, but until a few weeks ago the two were actually connected via sponsorship by bwin.party. Continue reading
When we last spoke about the Seleção the London Olympics were just around the corner, and coming off the back of a promising run of friendlies, Mano Menezes’s boys looked dead certs to grab gold.
Prata com gosto de lata
However, as we know football is rarely so cut-and-dried. In the tournament’s early stages, Brazil lived up to expectations to some degree, winning all five of their matches on the way to the final, scoring three goals in each. Although, their second-half struggle against Egypt and difficulty in putting away Honduras hinted towards a deeper defensive problem.
In the final at Wembley, Brazil faced a quick and expansive Mexico side who managed to take the lead in the first minute of the match. The seleção failed to recover properly and lost the match 2-1 – forcing them to make do with the silver medal.
Of course, an Olympic medal of any substance should not be sniffed at. But for Brazil, this really was uma prata com gosto de lata – a silver that tastes like tin. Continue reading
Posted in Brazil, National teams, Team analysis
Tagged 4-2-4, 4-2-4-0, Brazil, camisa dez, Chelsea, Confederations Cup, double pivot, enganche, fluidity, Hulk, inverse wingers, Kaká, Lucas, Mano Menezes, No.10, Olympic Games, Oscar, pressing, Real Madrid, Sandro, Seleção, World Cup 2014