Scarred Brazil still hopeful of World Cup success

June 23, 2013

graphic_1371828801
“Football supporters fleeing tear gas and rubber bullets. Angry mobs torching banks and buses. Gleaming new stadiums encircled by activists. These are images few Brazilians would have predicted they would see on the streets of their country just 10 days ago, images the organisers of the next year’s World Cup could not have imagined would blight the Confederations Cup.” BBC

Advertisements

Neymar scores, Brazil tops Italy 4-2 to finish Confed Cup group play

June 23, 2013

“Neymar scored for the third straight Confederations Cup game, curling in a delightful free kick, as Brazil beat Italy 4-2 to complete Group A with a perfect record on Saturday. Dante, who replaced the injured David Luiz, put Brazil ahead in first-half stoppage time but Emanuele Giaccherini levelled six minutes after the re-start after being sent clear by Mario Balotelli’s clever back-heeled flick.” SI


Uruguay 2-1 Nigeria: Tabarez switches to a back three, then to a back four, then to a back five

June 23, 2013

“Diego Forlan hit the winner on his 100th international appearance, as Uruguay unconvincingly defeated Nigeria. After a terrible performance against Spain, Oscar Tabarez brought back Diego Forlan into his starting XI, completely changed his midfield duo, and switched to a back three. Stephen Keshi swapped his two central attackers – Ideye Brown replaced Anthony Ujah, and John Ogu came in for Sunday Mba. Uruguay were a little fortunate to win this one – over the course of the game they hardly outplayed Nigeria, although they unquestionably had more quality in the final third.” Zonal Marking


Italy 4-3 Japan: Italy start terribly but Prandelli makes an early change to prompt a comeback

June 23, 2013

“Italy were rather fortunate to win an amazingly open match. Against Mexico, Italy were superb down the left but disappointing down the right, so Cesare Prandelli kept the left flank intact and changed two players on the right of his 4-3-2-1 – Christian Maggio replaced Ignazio Abate, while Alberto Aquilani came in for Claudio Marchisio. Alberto Zaccheroni, up against his home country, brought in Ryoichi Maeda upfront, moved Shinji Okazaki to the right, and dropped Hiroshi Kiyotake. Japan were excellent in the first half hour, but a combination of Prandelli’s substitution and a crazy, end-to-end game somehow let Italy back in.” Zonal Marking


Brazil 2-0 Mexico: Brazil start strongly but fade

June 20, 2013

br
“The opening suggested Brazil would win comfortably – but they spent the majority of the second half clinging onto a one-goal lead. Luiz Felipe Scolari kept the same XI that defeated Japan in the opening game. On the right flank, Jose Manuel de la Torre stuck with the duo that ended the defeat to Italy – Gerardo Flores on the wing and Hiram Mier at full-back, with winger Javier Aquino on the bench. Carlos Salcido switched from left-back to the centre of midfield, with Jorge Nilo coming into the side. Brazil started ferociously and pinned Mexico back into their own half, but their overall performance was disappointing.” Zonal Marking

Mexico continues frustrating, sluggish form at Confederations Cup
” There has been good news for Mexico during the Confederations Cup this week, but little of it has come from any of the match outcomes in Brazil. Victories for the USA over Honduras and Costa Rica over Panama have kept Mexico in the third automatic qualifying slot from the Concacaf hexagonal, but the team’s own form continues to frustrate. There is nothing shameful about losing to Italy and Brazil and if that were all there was to it, there’d be little reason for concern. The problem is context. Mexico has now won just one of its last 11 games — admittedly eight draws mean it was unbeaten in nine before the tournament — but the sense of optimism stimulated by its success in last July’s Olympic Games has all but evaporated. The crispness and rhythm of the team’s performance in London last summer has been replaced by sluggishness, despite the fact that six of the players who faced Brazil on Wednesday were in that same Olympic squad.” SI – Jonathan Wilson

“Neymar produced a commanding performance as Brazil secured their place in the Confederations Cup semi-finals with victory at the Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza. This was not the dominant performance that some had expected but it was Brazil’s first competitive victory over Mexico in nine years and a third successive win under head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari.” BBC


Italy 2-1 Mexico: Italy excel down the left flank

June 20, 2013

“Italy dominated for the majority of the match, and Mario Balotelli was a fitting matchwinner. Cesare Prandelli selected a 4-3-2-1 system, using Juventus duo Claudio Marchisio and Emanuele Giaccherini behind lone striker Balotelli. Mexico coach Jose Manuel de la Torre used a standard 4-2-3-1 system, playing Giovani dos Santos behind Javier Hernandez. Mexico had some bright moments, particularly through the lively Dos Santos – but Italy were the better side, and created more goalscoring opportunities.” Zonal Marking

“Italy completed a superb fightback to knock Japan out of the Confederations Cup and book their place in the semi-finals in a hugely entertaining game. Japan went 2-0 up via Keisuke’s Honda’s penalty and Shinji Kagawa’s strike. But Italy responded in some style when Daniele De Rossi headed in before Atsuto Uchida’s own goal and Mario Balotelli’s penalty made it 3-2.” BBC


Spain 2-1 Uruguay: Del Bosque changes his midfield structure, Uruguay are disorganised

June 20, 2013

“Spain’s level of dominance should have resulted in a much more emphatic victory. Xabi Alonso is unavailable for the Confederations Cup because of injury, and in his absence Vicente del Bosque changed the structure of his side, using Sergio Busquets as the sole holder, moving Xavi Hernandez into the role he plays at Barcelona, and introducing Cesc Fabregas as a number ten who could drive forward at the opposition defence. Roberto Soldado played upfront. Oscar Tabarez left Diego Forlan on the bench, with Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez upfront. Gaston Ramirez and Cristian Rodriguez were the attacking midfielders, with Walter Gargano in the middle. Spain’s possession dominance was astonishing in the first period, as Uruguay struggled to get out of their own half.” Zonal Marking