On August 10th a new look Brazilian squad will lineup against the USA and take what we hope are the first steps towards reclaiming World Cup glory. With the latest host of changes in the team comes a renewed promise for a more attacking oriented style. The players recently selected have the ability to accomplish this while doing so in typical Brazilian fashion; full of flair, creativity and passion. New coach Mano Menezes has pledged to operate in a 4-2-3-1 with a lesser emphasis on flying wing backs and increased production out of the midfield. Just how these players will lineup remains anybody’s guess but the possibilities prove both exciting and fascinating.
The goalkeeper spot, as stated in this blog, remains one of deepest positions in the CBF organization and therefore the hardest to break into. The recent call ups will do well to impress the manager and show future of Brazilian goalkeeping rests in good hands. Victor, Renan and Jefferson could all see time between the posts with an eye on securing Menezes’ faith.
One of Mano’s boldest changes could be his emphasis for a return to sounder and less attacking tactics from the wing back positions. World Cup veteran and Copa America champion Dani Alves should start on the right, and possibly earn the captains armband. I expect his World Cup teammate Thiago Silva to also find his name in the starting 11. The second CB and LB position are where the predictions become less assured. Based on hype measured by the clubs chasing him my vote would have to go with David Luiz at the second CB. At the LB you have a study in experience vs youth; Andre Santos and Marcelo respectively. My wish to see a show says Marcelo, but considering Mano’s effort to curb the defensive attacking, I see Andre Santos getting the nod.
The two defensive midfield positions will be filled, for what seems the first time in a generation, by two brand new players. Ramires did make the cut for South Africa but I see Hernanes impressing over him for one spot. The next DM spot is hard to tell when you consider that both these positions are responsible for reclaiming position and kick starting the offense. For me, Lucas shows his European club training and wins the spot over Sandro or Jucilei. The 3 attacking mid spots could be the most exciting position in terms of output and talent on display. I predict an all-Santos FC triumvirate here of Robinho (another armband candidate) on the left, Ganso in the middle and Neymar from the right. This combination would make the most sense since all three have played together for the last 5 month and have that critical sense of understanding between them.
That leaves the last striker position as a hotly contested affair between several players. Tardelli probably has the most form out of any of the names since his club is currently in mid season. Conversely, Andre Felipe’s presence together with Robinho, Ganso and Neymar, poses the intriguing potential for a four player Santos FC showing! However, Pato has the experience and is my pick to lead the line. He should have gone to World Cup were it not for a late season injury and has that background playing with Robinho tips the balance in his favor.
In the end I expect all players to see some playing time. The friendly against the the United States provides an excellent first opponent that is both well organized and highly tenacious. This first match will go a long way to forming team bonds, on field chemistry and identifying leaders within the group. Despite their youth and unfamiliarity with one another I expect them to put on a good show and hopefully avoid the CBF’s first ever defeat to the USA.
D.Alves - T.Silva - D. Luiz - A.Santos
Hernanes - Lucas
Neymar - Ganso - Robinho