The Selecao cruised to their fourth straight victory under Dunga with a 4-0 win over Japan on Tuesday. GBGT takes a look back at some of the talking points from SingaporeTuesday evening was undoubtedly the Neymar show, but the team overall can be proud of a display that captured the imaginations of the spectators in a way that some say has been lacking in recent years.
Despite a difficult playing surface at the National Stadium in Singapre, Dunga’s side moved the ball quicker and showed the sort of movement the coaching staff have been working hard to implement. And the 4-0 victory means the Selecao end the Gillette Brasil Global Tour of Asia with two straight victories.
The rout also saw coach Dunga maintain his unbeaten record since returning in July for his second spell in the dugout. It’s now four games, four wins and four clean sheets for the 1994 World Cup-winning captain.
Brazil will take lots of positives from their time in Beijing and Singapore. Having defeated their arch rivals Argentina in what was undoubtedly their biggest test since the World Cup, they are now unbeaten in all 11 games against Japan.
Below GBGT pick out five talking points from the 4-0 victory over Japan.
|NEYMAR & TARDELLI FORMING A FORMIDABLE BOND
The biggest change Dunga made to the side following his return was to ditch the fixed centre-forward role played by Fred at the World Cup and introduce a fluid forward line with a false no.9. Diego Tardelli was handed the role and certainly has not disappointed. And on Tuesday we saw time and again that he and Neymar are forming an exciting understanding.
The first goal arrived after Tardelli dropped deep to pick up possession before splitting the defence to play his partner into the space he himself had vacated.
While nominally playing in a 4-2-3-1, with Neymar repeatedly flying at space created by the ever-wandering Tardelli, Dunga’s side is often resembling a good old Brazilian 4-2-2-2. Constantly interchanging, they left the Japanese defence no fixed point at which to mark – something the coaching staff say is essential in the modern game. Between them Diego Tardelli and Neymar scored all six of Brazil’s goals in Asia.
|FULL-BACKS ENJOYING HOME COMFORTS
Danilo and Filipe Luis certainly don’t look like the archetypal Brazilian full-backs, preferring to stay at home and form a flat back four than charge up the line as we saw Maicon and Marcelo do at the World Cup. While Dunga is intent on taking a more contemporary approach, he thus far shown very little interest in seeing his full-backs help out further forward.
Perhaps the consequences suffered by Scholari’s side have urged more caution, with the current duo possessing stronger defensive attributes than their respective predecessors. The Selecao have certainly been less vulnerable at the back, keeping four straight clean sheers. But they can also look slightly narrow. Oscar carried a large creative burden and linked well with Willian.
In the second half, Phillipe Coutinho and then Kaka burst through the centre to set up goals for Neymar. With no real attacking wing play, Brazil have lost a bit of width but certainly look much stronger at the back.
|LIFE IN THE OLD SUPPORT STAFF YET
Kaka and Robinho made somewhat surprising returns to the Brazil squad, with both originally drafted in as injury replacements. Rather than hoping to provide Dunga a selection headache for his first XI, their real goal was simply to prove that they can still be valuable members of the squad who can offer valuable experience off the field, and that little something extra on it.
Kaka’s popularity may even have overshadowed Neymar in Asia, and he and Robinho both will feel they showed their quality when combining brilliantly before Kaka’s pinpoint cross handed Neymar the chance to convert with a simple header. The 32-year-old is enjoying a return to form with Sao Paulo but will soon be on his way to MLS, which could harm his chances of staying in the squad.
Robinho, 30, has also returned home and found his form with Santos, but he will have another decision to make when his loan expires in December. Having previously been considered finished at international level, these two aging Selecao favourites have returned, but now they must ensure they remain.
|GIL BECOMING A FAVOURITE
Corinthians defender Gil is enjoying an international opportunity he thought would probably never come and was delighted to make his first international start after working so hard on the training field since being summoned to the squad for the first time last month.
Against Japan he had little to do, but found a good understanding with Miranda and will hope he did enough to cement his role as one of Brazil’s back-up central defenders. Tall, strong and a little more no-nonsense than some of those available to Dunga, he offers a different option, particularly if Brazil find themselves in a backs-to-the-wall situation against sterner opponents.
Gil has won hearts with his open, friendly nature and indefatigable desire to impress the coaching staff. The possible return of Thiago Silva would make his an even bigger task, but with no goals conceded since the World Cup, Dunga will see little reason to change defensive personnel.
The tour of Asia saw two more international debuts. Souza and Mario Fernandes made their bows as substitutes against Japan following a week in which Dunga had to compensate for a number of late injury withdrawals. But the coach seems to have established his base, and has persistently spoken of the need for continuity in the squad.
While there were seven new faces from last month’s group, only Mario Fernandes and Dodo were named in the original squad of 22 for the tour of Asia. And Dunga’s base has thus far shown itself unnerved in stepping up to establish a renovated Brazil that can finally put their World Cup nightmare behind them.
Coutinho looks like he will be sticking around after a fine through-ball gifted Neymar his second. He again combined well with those around him and has justified his inclusion. Danilo, strong, powerful and secure at the back, looks another who is here to stay after coming in for Maicon last month. The false no.9 system is working, the forwards are scoring and the defence is keeping clean sheets.
If there is one thing to be addressed it’s probably a slight disconnect between the attack and defence, but so far so good for Dunga.
GBGT returns in November as Brazil take on Turkey and Austria, where Dunga will likely keep the base of his young, emerging Selecao.