Brazil lost the World Cup final to Uruguay in 1950. Until yesterday it was seen as the greatest tragedy in Brazilian football.
This year’s World Cup was seen as the chance to banish those memories; to fulfil their destiny of lifting the famous trophy in their own backyard. Instead, the current team have replaced the nightmare of 1950 with a new one.
The 7-1 humbling at the hands of a German team seen as the nearly men of recent international football is surely now the greatest embarrassment in Brazilian footballing history. The question is can they ever recover and where do they go from here to achieve redemption?
No case for the defence
All the talk pre-match was about how much Brazil would miss their talisman Neymar, but it is laughable to suggest he would have had any impact on Germany's devastating attacking play.
One man who might have had is Thiago Silva. The Brazil captain was suspended for the semi-final clash and it showed. Without him, David Luiz looked completely lost, displaying all the kamikaze defensive tendencies that convinced Jose Mourinho to jettison him from his Chelsea squad.
Whatever Paris Saint-Germain saw in him to make them cough up such a huge transfer fee clearly wasn’t on display last night. His organisational skills were non-existent and his inability to stay in position or at least attempt to get back into it after one of his charges up field cost his side dearly.
Luiz wasn’t the only one who had a shocking night, though. Marcelo has had a poor tournament defensively and his semi-final display topped the lot for inadequacy. He was day dreaming for Klose’s record-breaking goal and like Luiz seemed more intent on changing the score at the attacking end than trying to stop the flow of goals into his own net.
For this Brazil team to get back on track they need to tighten up majorly at the back. Thiago Silva seems to bring cohesion to what at times seems to be a group of strangers in the defence. Luiz needs to learn to play with his head and not his heart as his passion all too often spills over in to a lack of concentration.
I am assuming the Brazilian forward's nickname is to do with his muscular physique, although watching him throughout this tournament it is easy to imagine the big green version having a better first touch.
The Zenit striker was abysmal throughout the tournament, only showing glimpses of talent in the match with Chile in my opinion. I have never been convinced by him as a player despite teams lining up to buy him when he moved on from Porto a few seasons ago. In this World Cup, he showed a complete lack of composure in front of goal to go along with his woeful touch.
Surely a more subtle option than this oversized battering ram is available. Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho could easily play as wide man in Luiz Felipe Scolari’s 4-2-3-1 formation, as could Lucas Moura of PSG. Both would certainly bring more guile to the position than Hulk has managed to.
Fred’s time is up
Despite doing his best impression of a statue throughout the tournament, Fred managed to keep his place in the team right up until the semi-final massacre.
He is obviously a firm favourite of Big Phil’s, but anyone with even a passing interest in football knows that he should not have made squad based on his World Cup exploits let alone the team.
His lack of movement was abysmal and his only contributions were a goal against group whipping boys Cameroon and diving for a dubious penalty in the opening match.
The issue of course is that Brazil do not appear to have anyone to replace him. Jo is hardly a more inspiring option, although at least he seems capable of moving.
The lack of a new option is a problem for Brazil; you would wonder if Diego Costa had chosen to represent them if he would have been Scolari’s go-to man. The only option appears to be for Brazil to cross their fingers and hope another Ronaldo comes along soon.
Scolari needs to mix it up
Throughout this tournament, we have heard from numerous sources that Big Phil is fiercely loyal to his players. We have known for some time that the core of his Confederations Cup winning team would be the basis for this World Cup.
However, the coach has been badly let down and I for one feel that picking a few more people on form rather than trying to keep the ‘family’ together might have produced a stronger display.
There’s no I in team…or Neymar
Let’s get a few things straight. Firstly, Neymar is a wonderfully-gifted footballer and was Brazil’s most potent attacking threat by a considerable distance at this World Cup. Secondly, football is a team game and whilst you can rely on an individual for a moment of brilliance, you cannot rely on them to deliver you a trophy single-handed.
Brazil’s entire set-up revolved around getting the absolute best from Neymar, no matter what it required the team to do. So much so that once he was injured you visibly saw the belief dissipate from their fans.
The Barcelona forward seemed to thrive on the pressure of being their go-to man but for Brazil to succeed in the future they need to develop a team game which allows players like Oscar, Willian and Bernard to perform as well as Neymar.
So there we have it. Brazil's World Cup dream is over with only another nightmare to replace the hurt of 1950 and plenty of questions for Big Phil to answer.
What over areas do you think Brazil need to change to improve their chances in 2018?
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