Since Time Warner Kansas City is not down with ESPN3, a.k.a ESPN360, I could not watch this match after I got home yesterday afternoon. However, I was able to get a very solid guest recap from my brother Chris who was able to watch in his state. I trust his futebol IQ, and he had some great thoughts about the match. So here is his review:
The first 35 minutes of this game was uninspiring to say the least, but after a splendid goal from Michel Bastos, and a clinical finish from Robinho, Brazil opened up their play and got a well earned result.
Early on things just frankly weren’t going well for Brazil. The back line was struggling with the pace of the attackers from Zimbabwe and Michel Bastos looked clumsy on his side of the pitch. Quite simply, Zimbabwe was the better side in the first 35 minutes of this game.
In the 19th minute Zimbabwe surely should have been up 1-0. A quick counter from Zimbabwe and a little scramble from the Brazilian defense left attacker Ovidy Karuru with just the keeper to beat but he mishit his shot and it sailed high. This was followed by another scare as Julio Caesar came off with an injury, however reports have said its nothing serious and he was taken off as a “precaution.”
The next chance came for Brazil in the 41st minute as Luis Fabiano was fouled on the edge of the box. Michel Bastos atoned for his earlier mistakes and left no doubt as his powerful free kick found the back of the net and left the opposing keeper absolutely no chance.
Another chance was to come quickly as Maicon came parading up the right side and found Robinho whose great finish made it 2-0 in the 44th just before halftime. This was an encouraging end to the half for this side who had with a hard working Zimbabwe side early on.
In the second half the team improved their play drastically as Julio Baptista, Dani Alves, and Luisao all came on. Their influence on the game was seen relatively quickly as Brazil scored in the 56th minute to make it 3-0. Some quick link up play with Dani Alves and Julio Baptista was rewarded as Alves found his way through and unselfishly left the ball up to Elano on his left who poked the ball home to secure the result.
There were a couple more chances throughout the game but all in all this was a well earned result and good experience for Brazil to face an African country going forward who really aren’t all that bad. Their squad include European players Cephas Chimedza and Benjani Mwaruwari, but still is rather average.
However, I was thoroughly disappointed with the performance of Kaka. He just does not look himself and that could be a serious problem for this side going forward. The only other problem I had with the performance was the unsettling DEFENSIVE performance of Michel Bastos. In my eyes the starting position is his, but I’m just not sure if he can get it done against the best in the world.
All in all though, how much can you take from these warm up matches? Probably, not much. Brazil always plays lackluster friendlies. One can just hope that this side can build on this performance and gain experience from playing a side in Africa and carry that to their opener in the World Cup.
Some other quick notes from the game, did anyone else notice the immature behavior of Felipe Melo during the course of this game? I expect a little more class from a player who has really come into his own for this side and is vital to their performance. Antics like he displayed should not be tolerated by Dunga as it could cost his side. He’s a tough player, he just needs to display it on the field a little more.
Also, Baptista really inspired confidence in this performance…just saying to all the people who are worried about Kaka being injured. The Beast really had himself a good match.
Lastly, for those of you who are wondering, Grafite and Nilmar also came on late in this game but did not influence much. In the end it was a good 55 minutes for this Brazil side and they gained some good experience and confidence going forward into their next friendly.
Interesting clip right here about the Brazilian team, hope you enjoy.
Player Ratings: (1-10)
Julio Caesar- 6, Looked Comfortable in the early going, went off with the injury in the 26th. Hopefully nothing serious.
Lucio- 5.5, The usually steady Lucio struggled against the pace of Zimbabwe early. Although he put his act together in the latter act of the 1st half. One has to wonder however, if the pace of the duo of Drogba and Salomon Kalou will trouble Lucio in South Africa
Maicon-6.5, Steady as always in the back, although not as aggressive going forward in the early going. A lovely ball to Robinho for the 2nd goal of the game.
Kaka-4, Honestly, just didn’t look good. Have to wonder if this injury is still bothering him because his distribution was poor, and he gave up the ball way to many times against really, a hard working but below average Zimbabwean side.
Luis Fabiano-5, Worked Hard helped open up play for his teammates, never really had a chance to score, decent day for Fabiano.
Robinho-7.5, Brazils best player in my opinion. Looked lively throughout the whole game including a clinical finish at the end of the 1st half. Really could have had more than one.
Luisao-5.5, Decent showing in the back. Not much for him to do.
Thiago Silva- 6, Composed performance by Silva in the back, some communication problems with Luisao early in the 2nd half however. A very capable backup for Juan.
Elano- 5.5, Had the third goal although wasn’t much for him to do other then tap it in the net. Should have added a 4th in the 76th. Other than a couple decent corners didn’t do much.
Grafite-4, Did not influence the match at all. Missed Dani Alves running up the right on a number of occasions. Questioning his spot on this team.
Dani Alves-7, Steady in the back, shut down any attack coming down his side. Showed his unselfishness with a lovely assist to Elano for the third goal. Dunga must find a way to get him on the field in South Africa.
Julio Baptista- 7, Great performance from The Beast in the 2nd half. The team really improved as a whole when he came on and was a large improvement over Kaka in this game. Made some good runs and solid distribution including a splendid back heel that essentially set up the third goal.
Gomes-6 , Solid in Goal not given much to do.
Nilmar- 5.5, Hard working as always, never given any real scoring chances but caused the Zimbabwean defense plenty of problem with his speed and work ethic.
Michel Bastos-6, Clumsy, clumsy, clumsy in the 1st half to say the least made some bad fouls and most of the Zimbabwean attack was coming down his side. Scored a beautiful goal for Brazil’s first however in the 41st minute off a free kick and really settled down after that. Solid distribution from his corner. Did not inspire much confidence defensively however as the wingers from Portugal and the Ivory Coast will be slightly more devastating than any of the players Zimbabwe has to offer respectively.
Gilberto Silva- 6, Defended the back line well had a good game by his standards.
Felipe Melo- 5.5, Melo sure is a headache to say the least for Brazil fans. Pretty Decent distribution and average positioning, combined with his tough play really gives Brazil a different dimension in the midfield. Needs to quit with some of his childish antics however as displayed in this game. It could negatively affect his side in South Africa.
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