Thursday, June 12, 2014

World Cup kicks off...and already controversy

Brazil opens up their tournament with a deceiving 3-1 win over Croatia. Croatia didn't even score a goal, since their tally was from a Marcelo OG. Here are some observations:

  • Brazil will go as far as Neymar and Oscar carry them offensively. Granted that is not a bad combination to lean on. But I am not ready to equate this team to the 1970 Brazilian squad. Fred is not a world class striker anymore...was he ever? Hulk just doesn't seem to be the player he was when he played in Portugal. The fullbacks bring some offense but at what cost? More on that later. What I was a bit surprised was that Croatia did not muscle up the two Brazilian creative players more. I wouldn't be surprised if Mexico and Cameron did not try to dispense a few hard tackles on these two. 
  • Speaking of fullbacks...the Brazilian fullbacks are questionable defensively. Especially Alves. The Barca left back looked totally out of sorts as Olic had some dangerous runs during the first half. It was interesting to watch as Silva had to constantly cover that spot. On the Croatian goal look who had to shift over to close down the space. I do not think this will be an issue in the group stage, but keep an eye
    He dove...err was fouled right there
    on this once it gets to the knock outs. I also question Cesar. He made some okay saves but some that looked very shaky.
  • Diving diving diving. Okay I will admit this wasn't that bad in this game...except for the penalty kick. What an absolutely awful call by the referee. If this game were played anywhere else but Brazil and the referee doesn't whistle anything. Yes the Croatian defender Lovren had a hand on Fred, but the Brazilian striker was leaning back trying to box out Lovren. All the defender did was shift to get position and Fred's weigh took him backward and he decided to flop. The official got duped or wanted to give the home side a call...terrible call. Check that official's bank account...make sure he has received some cash from the Brazilian federation recently.
Overall a typical opening game. Some good action, lots of caution but at least there were 4 goals. Nothing has changed with this group - Brazil will emerge in the first spot, and the battle will be for the second slot.

Now the fun really begins where we will be getting multiple games every day.

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