The Brazil side of 1982 are fondly remembered across the globe as one of the best sides never to win the World Cup.
Zico, Socrates, Fãlcao and Carlos Alberto thrilled the nation with their brand of slick, samba football. However, all the creativity and flair came to nothing when they were beaten 3-2 by a functional and defensively astute Italian side, and thus knocked out of the tournament. Brazilian football would undergo an image change, no longer content with being the circus act that amazed the crowd with their brand of football, without providing any results.
Obsession with holding midfielders
Brazil became obsessed by the need for two holding midfielders in the middle of the park. In their victorious 1994 World Cup campaign, Dunga and Mauro Silva were given the responsibility of stifling the opposition. In 2002 Gilberto Silva and Kleberson fulfilled a similar role.
Their role in the side was to allow the likes of Rivaldo, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho to fully flourish, as they did to great effect.
Caught out by the German machine
Whilst this worked to a point, in the modern game the specialist role of defensive midfielder has changed markedly in recent years. The current German set up is a perfect example of how modern midfielders should play at the highest level.
In Toni Kroos, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira they have a trio that are comfortable on the ball wherever they are on the pitch, and tactically aware yet destructive in defense. In comparison, Brazil started with the duo of Luiz Gustavo and Fernandinho, who both rely on playing next to a playmaker, allowing them to use their energy to get into advantageous positions.
Neither will get on the ball, and dictate play. That role is supposed to go to Oscar, but as last night proved, having a sole playmaker is dangerous. Oscar was completely silenced by the power of the German midfield, and he had little help from those behind him.
Similarly, when Neymar features, all the play goes through him. If he is struggling, so is the whole team.
Big Phil tactically naive
For all the talk of Luiz Felipe Scolari as a fantastic father figure, little was said of his tactical ability. Last night he got his tactics completely wrong. This may be an obvious statement in the face of a 7-1 loss, but major tactical flaws were apparent before a ball was even kicked.
Scolari attempted to put Brazil on the front foot by picking an attacking line-up, but the areas he chose to attack were wrong. Germany's main weakness is the left side of the pitch. Mesut Ozil drifts inside, whilst Benedikt Howedes is a centre-back being played out of position, so Scolari should have focussed on this area, and used Dani Alves instead of Maicon, who has little influence in the final third anymore.
Brazil simply don't have the players to incisively attack as they did in previous years, so whilst you can praise Scolari for his bold decision to play Oscar, Hulk and Bernard as a three, in reality he was leaving his defensive unit woefully open. He could have played Ramires, Paulinho and Luiz Gustavo in the midfield to try and smother the Germans, leaving Hulk to play up top, supported by Oscar and Bernard.
2014 will be remembered as the darkest period in Brazilian football, and it will be intriguing to see how they recover.
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