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R16: Brazil - Chile (June 28, 2014 - 18:00 CET)
I'm really surprised at the lack of enthusiasm in this thread, did people not enjoy the match?

For me this was an absolutely incredible match where both teams were outstanding. The breakneck pace of the game, the pressing, some of the technical quality on display and a lot of the defending was all top notch. Tactically they set themselves up to dominate the game and every change made was to try and take control and hurt the opponents. Yes, both teams made some really poor mistakes at the back and had lapses in concentration, but given how they pressed and attacked each other, it was inevitable there would be some slack moments.

I also think that while Brazil showed lapses in the second half where they had periods of getting dominated by the opponents, it's worth noting that Chile only had one real chance in that period which Julio Cesar rolled back the years to save. Beyond that, the Brazilian defence actually held up very well during a delicate period. At the other end, Brazil's finishing (something of question throughout this tournament so far) was the only thing lacking.

On Chile, I didn't think they would be able to cope defensively when Brazil committed forward, yet defensively with the exception of a few moments when the defenders simply weren't of the level to deal with Neymar and Hulk (who was superb) individually, their organisation was admirable. Going forward, Chile looked dangerous and incisive, with some great movements and defence splitting passes. They just lacked the finish (indicative of Pinilla's last minute miss) to take the edge.

The drama and the amount of change in momentum during the penalties was indicative of how the match was on the whole. I think both teams deserve credit for putting on an incredible show, it was a great game between two excellent sides that imo was an all time classic world cup match.

Brazil might not look 100% in this match, but as I've been saying, they've been growing this tournament. While the extra time and penalties will have drained them, I can see this moment being that test of character required of all great champions.

Edit: Two comments I forgot to make. The ref (Howard Webb) imo definitely didn't give any advantage to Brazil over Chile. He maybe got some decisions wrong, but 100% I don't think Brazil had any sort of favouritism.

Second point I want to make is that many (not necessarily on this board) have commented that Brazil look shaky at the back. While true, it's interesting to point out that before the match the BBC said Brazil had only 7 shots taken at their goal (on target) over the group stage. Chile had just 2 more on target today, totaling 9. That's an average of just 2 shots on target per game against Brazil. Looking at things from this perspective and knowing who they were facing (Croatia, Mexico and especially Chile are all very attacking), this is quite an impressive stat.
I think both team do not have real supporters here so the enthusiasm was lacked Big Grin

Brazil attack doesn't impress me. They used long ball a lot in 1st half, which showed the absence of good passers and dribblers in the mid, and of course there was no product. Hulk's effort then deserves praise, but was that Brazil?

If I had watched this match without knowing about both team, it would have been pleasing with the intensity. But I expect more from a team like Brazil.
For me it's a matter of not being in front of my computer while watching the game so I don't post much during game time. I think it was a very exciting match as well but the long ball tactics by Brazil were a little surprising and uncharacteristic. It was anybody's game really with Hulk forcing some great saves out of the Chilean keeper while Chile had that chance at the end to win it.

Still not convinced by this Brazil side though. They didn't really attack well as a team, relying on individual talent to create chances on goal. They will definitely need to be at their best to withstand the Colombian attack
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I was hoping Chile would take this one. It was always going to be tough though. I support the Netherlands, always have since Van Basten, so I am please they avoided Brazil...even though I dot have a high opinion of this Brazil side.

I liked Chile throughout the tournament. Really exciting team to watch. They play with a lot of intensity every time. This game however, Brazil had even more intensity in the first half. They were first to every ball, wicker to everything for the first 30mins or so. They played with such motivation. Then things changed however and Chile grew into the game...and could've taken it at the end. It was a great game to watch, although the second half was a little sloppy at times.

I think Chile was the team that could beat Brazil on this side of the draw up until the semis. I don't think Colombia can do it. So now that Brazil won this one, I expect to see them in the semis....where I think they'll lose to the Germans or the French.
I think Scolari overtinkered his team too much in the second half by switching Hulk and Neymar's positions. Perhaps Neymar was carrying a knock (he didn't seem to fully recover from Medel's early challenge) so was told not to leave the task of creating chances or taking on players to Hulk, or it was just their usual permutation during the match, but Brazil best chances came when Hulk cut inside from his usual right position and shoot twice: the first was disallowed , the second was superbly saved by the keeper.

Worringly for all the talks of Fernandinho being an upgrade over Paulinho, he offered just as little going forward. And speaking of forward, as far as I can remember, Fred and Jo must be Brazil worst pair of strikers in a major tournament. The first has the mobility of a steamboat, the latter was so ungainly he didn't seem to be in full control of his limbs.
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I think more should be acknowledged about the tactical battle. It's important to note Brazil tried to use their height and physical advantage through the whole match. More importantly, in response to those surprised/disappointed by Brazil's long balls in the first half, I think it's fair to acknowledge that passing through such a tight and hard pressing Chile side is difficult. However, due to the way Chile press high up the pitch and the fact they play a 3 man defence meaning wide areas are vulnerable (Isla and Mena like to push forward), the diagonal long ball was a great idea from Scolari to get in behind the Chileans, especially as Neymar's pace was a massive problem for the slow defenders. These were controlled passes to hurt a weakness in the Chile side rather than aimless long balls to a target man.

Sampaoli deserves just as much respect, as his change in the second half was to press higher in wide areas, meaning not only were Brazil stopped from playing the long balls from deep, but they were pinned back. Chile, with Vidal and some top class CMs, dominated the middle of the park against Fernandinho and Gustavo (also outnumbering them). Scolari switched things again though to get back into the match, pulling Gustavo back to make a 3 man defence and give Dani Alves and Marcelo a chance to push forward behind the wide men of Chile.

In response, Sampaoli again changed to a system of effectively 4-5-1, with Sanchez furthest up to try and be the outlet and threat. However, losing Vidal was huge and the dominance in midfield was lost, while the energy and movement of Ramires was telling in the Brazil midfield. However, both teams towards the end decided to bring on target men (Jo and Pinilla) to offer outlets to their tiring teams and give more physical problems to the backlines. Personally, on the whole, I found the tactical battle in this match fascinating, with both coaches constantly changing things to hurt the other side. The one thing that really hurt Brazil was having to change how Neymar and Hulk played (as Nalx mentioned), but this was clearly to support Neymar, who had been given a few nasty kicks by the Chile players in the first half.

On to a more general point, I think a lot of the "hate" (less so on the board barring mzk, but especially prominent elsewhere) is unfair. The problem I think is people were hoping/expecting the Brazil of old with flair and magic, a Brazil which doesn't really exist anymore. I think these players need to be judged on their merits, which is the workrate and unity, as only Neymar offers the magic of older Brazilian players. Personally, I also think that Scolari, the players and Brazilian fans in general know this is the case, that this Brazil won't play like the old Brazil sides.

I've mentioned a few times that this Brazil doesn't have the identity nor tempo of the sides of old. I tend to listen to podcasts that focus a lot on South American and particularly Brazilian football (as well as watching Brazilian league football and Cope Libertadores too). One of the things that stands out is that since the advent of a lot of ball playing midfielders rising in Europe (Spain, Italy and Germany particularly), Brazilian football has been in somewhat an identity crisis in recent years, knowing that in the past they had these sort of ball playing midfielders. One thing is worth noting though, that apparently Brazil is trying to rediscover it's identity. One thing is that they are looking to develop more technical midfielders who can dictate games to return to their history, but this will take time.

As for their pressing game, this isn't something new. Before the world cup started, I watched England vs Brazil in the Toulon youth tournament, and that Brazil side had the same sort of pressing game. Unfortunately for Brazilian football, they are hosting a special world cup in a time when Brazilian football is in transition.
Dev, do you think this Brazilian team will get to the final?

Like I said, I think they'll get past Colombia. Colombia looks good now but they are yet to play a team with Brazil's intensity and quality. I think Brazil will prove to be too tough for them.

But looking at this Brazil, right now, I stultify don't see them beating Germany or this French team that has looked really impressive.
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(06-29-2014, 04:22 PM)nefremo Wrote: Dev, do you think this Brazilian team will get to the final?

Like I said, I think they'll get past Colombia. Colombia looks good now but they are yet to play a team with Brazil's intensity and quality. I think Brazil will prove to be too tough for them.

But looking at this Brazil, right now, I stultify don't see them beating Germany or this French team that has looked really impressive.

Honestly, I have no idea. Thing is, this world cup is really unpredictable and honestly I only correctly guessed one group in terms of teams to progress.

That said, I don't see why Brazil can't reach the final. They've progressively improved match after match (Chile was their best performance yet) and I really don't see any outright favourites right now, with every team looking vulnerable at some point or another. So in that view, I think Brazil have as good a chance as any, especially given they are looking more solid with each match and they get a massive boost from home support in each match.

Columbia - Brazil should be a great match, but like you I can see Brazil's intensity and pressing really causing problems for whoever they face. The one question is whether they will recover following the Chile match, which was a real battle for the players.

As for Germany and France, if I'm honest I have questions over both. Germany are a great side, but I'm not sure whether they have the mental strength and variety in their game to really go the whole way (we saw vs Ghana how they can and probably will struggle against better sides). That said, if they face Brazil they pose a massive threat, as they arguably have the best counter attacking game of any side, while Brazil do leave spaces in wide areas.

As for France, I want to see them against better opponents, as in all honesty their group was mediocre at best. Even Switzerland, who have some good players look poor and completely fell apart against the French (and yet managed to score 2). France are dangerous though and imo this is the best French side I've seen in a long time.

All in all, I simply think Brazil have as good a chance as anyone and ultimately have been criticised more than they should be. One thing people were questioning about Brazil prior to the tournament was their temperament and coping with difficult situations. Against Croatia, first match and first few minutes, they were a goal down and managed to come back to win (albeit with some help). Against Chile, the pressure was immense and they had to go all the way against a side that plays with no fear, yet kept their head when they had everything to lose. Honestly, we can say what we want about this Brazil side's quality, but they've shown the character and hunger required to win.