Can Brazil find the balance between attack and defence in 2014 World Cup?

2014-06-15 15:02

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Brazil’s opening-day victory over Croatia in a sense encapsulated what the hosts are about; attacking flair and an eye for the goal. However, it also underlined some rather glaring shortfalls.

There is no doubting that Brazil are a joy to behold when in full flow, with their pace, neat passing and scintillating skill on attack sure to trouble every defence that A Selecao encounter.

As hosts, Brazil did not have to qualify for the World Cup and as a result spent the qualifying period turning out in a number of friendlies. Since the Confederations Cup last June, the Brazilians played 10 matches, winning all of them as they plundered 31 goals while only conceding two.

However, if Thursday night’s match is anything to go by, hammering the likes of Australia, South Africa, Panama and Honduras has only served to paper over the cracks.

In Sao Paulo it was clear to see that Brazil’s defence could well prove something of a liability.

Fullbacks Dani Alves and Marcelo appeared far more concerned with providing an attacking outlet then maintaining their defensive structure, while David Luiz continued to defy the hefty price tags that continue to follow him. All the while, the midfield pairing of Paulinho and Luiz Gustavo failed to protect the defence in any manner.

With respect to Ivica Olic and Nikica Jelavic, strikers of a better pedigree would have punished the casual Brazilian defending. Where the Croatian pairing proved willing runners who applied pressure, the likes of Diego Costa and Robin van Persie, who may await in the next round, are sure to make Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side pay.

The Brazilians may be able to score more goals than their shaky defence leaks early on in the competition, but if they are to go all the way they are going to have to find the balance between attack and defence.

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