Marcelo and Maxwell were taken. It is hard to argue that they were the wrong two. Felipe Luis had a fantastic season for Atletico Madrid and has now been snapped up by Chelsea for a cool £20million. However, before the squad was announced, I was hoping that Maxwell and Marcelo would be the chosen two, and so I was happy with the choice.
Marcelo is a top class player, and has age on his side. I can see him remaining as the starting left-back for Brazil for the foreseeable future. Problem with Marcelo though, is that if you play him, you really need your right-back to be a solid and disciplined player who puts his defensive duties first. You can’t play two marauding fullbacks anymore when the centre of your defence and your defensive midfield is so lacking in discipline.
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Maxwell is far more defensively sound than Marcelo, and is no shrinking violet when it comes to attacking play either. However, he has been overlooked for most of his career despite playing at some of Europe’s top clubs, and will probably now be cast into the wilderness.
Going forward, it would be nice to see one of Alex Sandro of FC Porto, Alex Telles of Galatasaray or Wendel of Bayer Leverkusen given opportunities to show that they can rival Marcelo for a starting berth. Alex Sandro, like Rafael, appears to be paying the price for the unsuccessful Olympic campaign.
Luis Felipe, who has just been signed by Chelsea, would have been an ideal choice, but Scolari didn’t seem to fancy him because he puts more of a focus on defending rather than attacking.
What of Brazil’s centrebacks? Thiago Silva is a world class centre-half, of that there is no doubt. He can’t do it all on his own though, and as far as I am concerned David Luiz proved once and for all in the games with Germany and Holland that he is not a top class defender. He may well blossom into a semi competent defensive midfielder, but I for one don’t want to see him line up in the heart of Brazil’s defence ever again.
Dante was the right option
Manuel Neuer once said that Dante was the best defender he has played behind. I believe that Scolari should have used the Confederations Cup of 2013 to build a partnership and understanding between Dante and Thiago Silva. Instead he went with Luiz, and we all witnessed how that panned out this summer. It is hard to blame Dante for the capitulation against Germany. He was at least trying to keep his shape and discipline whilst others around him were all over the place.
Henrique doesn’t play regularly enough for Napoli, and his inclusion was more a case of Scolari knowing him and trusting him. I very much doubt he’ll be involved in any of the Brazil squads in the near future.
The omission of Miranda, who was a rock in the heart of Atletico Madrid’s title winning team, suggests to me that Scolari didn’t really do much homework as to which players were available to him. To leave out one Brazilian defender from the Atletico Madrid side is careless. To omit both of them is incompetent.
Going forward, Marquinhos at PSG shows lots of promise, as does Juan Jesus at Inter Milan. It’s ironic that Marquinhos may have his chances limited due to the laughably pricey arrival of David Luiz in Paris.