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Old 23-01-2009, 06:35   #76
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Brazil Preview Part One: Goalie and Defense
January 20th, 2009 | By: Julian | 14 Comments »

I’m going all out in my preview for the upcoming friendly against Brazil. “But Julian,” you cry, “it’s just a friendly.” We’ll you’re wrong. It’s the two most successful national teams in the world facing each other. It could get very heated and should be very exciting. This is Lippi’s toughest test yet, even though it’s just a friendly. Win here and he writes his name in the history books. Lose and, well, we all know the Italian press- expect the word “crisis” to be thrown around like the it’s the Hindenburg. Without further ado, let’s look at their squad.
Brazil’s Squad

2 DF Maicon
3 DF Thiago Silva
4 DF Luisão
5 MF Anderson
6 DF Kléber
7 MF Kaká
8 MF Gilberto Silva
9 FW Adriano
10 MF Ronaldinho
11 FW Robinho
12 GK Doni
13 DF Daniel Alves
14 DF Lúcio
15 DF Miranda
16 DF Marcelo
17 MF Josué
18 MF Alex
19 MF Mancini
20 MF Diego
21 FW Alexandre Pato

Lads and gents, this is a lineup not to be messed with. Anyone with even a passing interest in soccer should be able to recognize some of these names: Ronaldinho, Robinho, Kaka… This isn’t the roster that’s been announced for our friendly. But it is the most recent one and I don’t expect to see too many changes. Of course, I’ll post the real one and note any changes as we get closer. But this is a good start to look at the team.

Here’s a quick rundown on Brazil: The Selecao are arguably the most famous soccer team in the world. Most non-soccer fans equate World Cups and the beautiful game with their classic green and yellow jersey. They’re the best club in national team history if trophies and World Cups are to go by. Joga bonito is their game, and they often play it rather well. They haven’t been doing stellar recently but… c’mon. Look at that lineup. Breaking it down categorically, with a focus on their back 5 for today:

They have not only one but two stellar goalies. JC is the starter for Inter and one of the best in the world. He really doesn’t have too many weaknesses. He’s good at positioning, great at catching, and a good leader overall. Thankfully, we have one of the few goalies better than him in Buffon, but Cesar could walk into just about any team not named “Real Madrid” or “Juventus” and take the starting spot. They also have a very good backup in Doni. He’s not at JC or Buffon’s level but he’s pretty good. Great at reflex shots, not so much on positioning. But we probably won’t see him anyway since JC usually gets the nod, and deservedly so. To put it in laymen’s terms- Toni, Rossi, my grandma, or whoever Lippi calls up is going to have to play very, very well in order to score. I doubt we’ll see a fluke goal like we saw with Gila a few games ago. Not with goalies like this.
Defense: Right Backs

Their defense is also quite nasty. They have far and away the best fullback in the world in Dani Alves. He’s been terrifying on Barca, especially on offense, so our backline is going to have their hands full. For real, have you guys seen Barca play at all this year? The whole team is terrifyingly good but Alves especially has been outstanding. His form right now makes WC 06 Grosso look like Wayne Bridge. He was shaky defensively at first but now he’s much better, and his crosses are often magical. Maicon is the other fullback we really have to watch out for, and he’s no stranger to Serie A fans. He plys his trade at Inter and has developed into on of the best fullbacks in the world. He’s a monster defensively and very, very strong going forward. He’s a big guy and isn’t afraid to get into physical contact. Our two wingbacks are going to have their hands full with these guys. Don’t expect much forward movement from Grosso/Zambro/Dossena. The only saving grace here is that they’re both right backs. I don’t know who usually starts, but unless Dunga decides to play one of them on the left (and I wouldn’t put it past him), we only have to worry about one of them.
Defense: Left Back

I have no clue who usually plays left fullback. Alex? Kleber? My grandma? Either way this could be the weakest point of their defense. But only because their right backs are so good and their center backs are also quite strong. Which brings me to my next point:
Centre Backs

(Like the old English spelling I used there?)

It’s almost ironic the way this turned out. Italy used to be known for great defense and Brazil for great offense. But based off of this lineup, you’d think it’s Brazil who play the better defense. They have a lot of guys to pick from here- Juan wasn’t even called it. It’s almost like my brother once said: “Put more of me in it.” And if that last sentence didn’t make sense, too bad.

Silva is quite the young CB. He was recently signed by Milan. I should repeat that. Milan signed a young defender. That sentence alone should be enough to convince you of his quality. It was for me.

Juan isn’t on this list but he’ll probably be called up. He’s a starter on Roma and provides quite the duo along with Mexes. He’s pretty solid- not the biggest and bulkiest guy, but he’s got good position and reading of the game. Alex on Chelsea is another solid CB who has a fair shot of getting called up. He isn’t getting much playing time over at Chelsea, but seeing how this is a friendly, Dunga may want to see if he’s still good enough for qualifiers. Lucio is the other big name here. Appointed captain in 2006 (thank you Wiki), he seems to be a regular starter under Dunga. Don’t know much about him but the captain’s gotta be pretty good, right?

Next post: A look at thier midfield. And if you thought the defense had big names, just wait until we cover that.
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