116street Soccer

Footballing from a lesser authority...

Location: New York, New York

Monday, July 16, 2007

Brazil Returns

I was shamelessly front-running, bouncing up and down to "Popazuda Rock 'N Roll" while some extremely attractive Brazilian girls were shimmying with the Robinho lookalike to my right, and who could blame me? Brazil, with a B squad full of players I was barely familiar with, had just pistol-whipped their more celebrated archrivals, vanquishing Argentina to claim another Copa America title, and since I had never partied with a bunch of Brazilians postgame, I couldn't think of a better occasion.
Wendell, the aforementioned Robinho doppelganger, was filling me in on the appeal of cheering for Brazil, and I have to say it was quite a nice pitch. "Today, you are Brazilian," he said, then directing his attention to another non-Brazilian in the room, he added, "so is he. So is she! Today, everyone is Brazilian!" That's how it looked on the field, too, as the swarm of yellow and blue made a previously dominant Argentina side look completely irrelevant. The Albicelestes, so accustomed to controlling the pace of the game, were simply overwhelmed by the pure pace of the Brazilians.
Playing with neither a classic target man or wingers, Argentina has relied primarily on its composure and passing in midfield to pinpoint openings in the defense, at the expense of width and a consistent aerial game. Against Brazil, however, that lack of width was telling, as the Brazilian counterattack caught Argentine fullbacks too far upfield and wreaked vengeance with stunning precision. By the 40th minute, Argentina's defenders were already hunched over and pulling at their shorts, and only seconds later Roberto Ayala was trying to pick himself off the ground, an own-goal scoring victim of Brazil's fearsome counterattack.
Thus it appears that Brazil, written off as a work in progress, are players on the world stage once again; we will have to get familiar with a few new names, such as Josue, Elano, and Daniel Alves. The match has also proven just how tough it is to win a major competition (USA fans, don't be so impatient!); the last time Argentina won one of these, Saved By The Bell was on the air.


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6:45 AM  

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