Brazil 0 – Argentina 1
I thought Brazil would lose this match. However, I was still very upset about this result because it was so obviously expected.
You don’t start a center-forward, you have a harder time finishing in front of net, period.
You start a midfield with two players who have provided nothing but average to below average displays for most of their appearances on the national team, you get bad possession and service from that midfield.
You sub in a player who is making a national team debut at the age of 28, who has never stood out other than a few domestic league matches, you get someone who gives the ball up in injury time on your own end of the pitch, leading to the game winner.
I know it is just one match, but it is still frustrating when you go into it, knowing the obvious flaws on your team. To make matters worse, those flaws are completely unnecessary when you consider the talent that was left home to watch this match on television.
Hulk, Nilmar, Fred, Hernanes, Douglas Costa, Michel Bastos and Denilson at home. Sandro and Philippe Coutinho on the bench.
This was clearly Mano’s worse match in his early career with the national team, and everyone but the manager knew this was going to be his worse match last Wednesday when Pato went down with an injury.
The match started with a lively first half that saw Brazil hit the post, and get a couple good shots on goal. The two sides went into the halftime tunnel tied 0-0.
The second half was rather dull, and only got worse when Mano took Neymar off inexplicably, his best player on the pitch. Argentina pressed after this substitution, and it eventually lead to a Lionel Messi goal off a ridiculous giveaway by Gremio midfielder Douglas.
Brazil, playing without a true center-forward, couldn’t put a ball in the back of the net. They played with great players out wide, who were clearly hesitant to cross the ball into the back without big forward waiting for that service.
I hope Mano learns something from this match. I hope he learns that building your best 23 man squad requires picking people capable of being a part of it.
Victor, 6, Missed a punch on a cross that led to a dangerous moment. I thought he could have done a lot better on the Messi goal.
Dani Alves, 7.5, Hit the post on a nice shot early in the first half. Di Maria gave him a bit of trouble, but handled it for the most part.
David Luiz, 8.5, He was on his way to earning man of the match honors with Neymar before the Messi goal. He got completely into Messi’s head and nothing was getting through.
Thiago Silva, 7.5, You could say he deserves a lower rating because the Messi goal went through his legs, and I wouldn’t argue with that. However, he too did an excellent job stopping Messi for 91 minutes. The goal was on Douglas.
Andre Santos, 6.5, I thought he wasn’t bad coming forward, but is nothing spectacular defensively. Messi did run on him, which was expected, and I have seen worse from a left back.
Lucas, 6, His tackling was actually really decent, so why not the better rating? Because his service was terrible. He killed more than a couple of counters with awful balls.
Ramires, 6, I have no idea what match the Goal.com folks were watching today. The possession game of the Mano era was absent today because the midfield, um, basically didn’t to do this key thing…called possessing the ball.
Elias, 6, Anothere part of an average display from the midfield. He was almost completely invisible in this match, and I think we need to move on to someone else here.
Ronaldinho, 6.5, He was lively tonight, but should have scored when he decided to try a back heel shot. Some said he probably thought he was offsides, but you have to play through that just in case the flag doesn’t go up, which it did not when he tried that shot. His free kicks were solid, I don’t think the performance was enough to earn a future start.
Robinho, 6, I was very disappointed with his play. His first touch wasn’t that great. Neither was his passing.
Neymar, 8.5, You seriously could make a legitimate claim that he was the best player on the pitch today, for either team. Was a threat every time he touched the ball.
BRASIL 0 X 1 ARGENTINA
Victor, Daniel Alves, Thiago Silva, David Luiz e André Santos; Lucas, Ramires (Jucilei) e Elias; Robinho, Neymar (André) e Ronaldinho Gaúcho (Douglas).
Técnico: Mano Menezes
Romero, Zanetti, Burdisso, Pareja e Heinze; Banega, Mascherano e Pastore (D´Alessandro); Dí Maria, Messi e Higuaín (Lavezzi).
Técnico: Sergio Batista
Gols: Messi, aos 46 minutos do segundo tempo.
Cartões amarelos: Mascherano (Argentina)
Árbitro: Abdalá Balideh (Qatar)
Local: Khalifa International Stadium, em Doha, no Qatar
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