Unfortunately I was only able to see the 2nd half of the match live on TV. It seemed to me that the majority of Brazil’s chances may have come in the 1st half. In general the action really was quite subdued for most of the half. I was hoping to see a more organized Brazil side but instead was somewhat disappointed by their production.
The starting lineup was:
D. Alves, D.Luiz, T.Silva, A.Santos
Elias, Ronaldinho, Neymar
From what I saw in the 2nd half the front attacking line constantly switched with Ronaldinho, Neymar, etc. all took turns filling the strikers slot. This lack of a defined striker was evident. Not a lot of balls were crossed into the area and the attacking play was focused up the middle for the most part.
The commentators brought up a good point about Mano’s selection this time around which I had not considered. Where was Nilmar, who’s been having a good season at Villareal? Where was Hernanes who is also blossoming at Lazio? There were dubious choices made this time out and one has to wonder if the critics will come calling now that Mano’s grace period is over.
The lack of a defined forward is a glaring problem. Pato’s absence was noticeable, and even then he isn’t the prototypical striker ala Drogba or even Luis Fabiano. Another point of concern was the shoddy production out of the defensive midfield. It could be down to working with new call up Ronaldinho, or part of Argentina’s scheme. Whatever it was they seemed disconnected and at times shambolic.
Andre Santos in particular had a tough time coping with Argentina’s attack up the right. Once again our weakest positions were exploited to perfection. And it must be said that Ronaldinho himself was not the breath of fresh air that most of us (me included) probably expected. I’ve just never seen him as a world class “No. 10” and tonight was just another example. In the 2nd half at least he seemed slow and lost possession on a number of occasions. It was disheartening to see really.
I hope that Mano learns from this match and we address our weak points as soon as possible. It’s quite clear where we struggle (Striker, Left Back) and excel (Right Back, Attacking Mid.) Below are some subjective grades to the performances I saw in the 2nd half tonight.
Victor - 6
D.Alves - 6 …. lone bright spot in defense
D. Luiz - 5 …. shambolic at times. got caught upfield on a few occasions
T. Silva - 6
A. Santos - 4 …. constantly beat up the right
Lucas - 5
Ramirez - 6
Neymar - 7 …. only offensive player to seem to have direction and focus
Ronaldinho - 6 …. seemed tired and short of ideas
Elias - 4 …. a forgettable night
Robinho - 5 …. expected more. faded quickly during the match