Friday, July 5, 2013

A Road Map

photo by thejourney1972 (South America "addicted")via PhotoRee

Scott sounds off:

Beating Spain 3-0 is one thing. But doing it by completely off-balancing them for large portions of the game (including most of the opening 20 min), by harassing and pressuring high up the pitch and throughout midfield, is really something. Sure, Brazil had some luck - David Luiz' goal-saving slide (how did the ball manage to go over the bar?) and Segio Ramos' missed penalty. Not to mention a first goal that was the antithesis of Joga Bonito. But it takes a little luck to go all the way. After all, Spain was only in the final due to one missed penalty by Italy in the semi-final.

While Spain was beaten convincingly, that is not to say that they were dominated, despite the cacophonous Selecao fans. La Roja was able to take the reins from time to time and create opportunities. They were just less able to do so than normal, due to Brazil's gameplan, and it made all the difference. I'm not sure many teams can pull off what Brazil did but they certainly laid out a roadmap for victory over the defending world champions. And with all due respect to the Bossman, with similar effort and fan support, I think they can do it again in 2014, Confederations Cup Curse notwithstanding.

While I think it is still too early to be sure of Neymar's immediate impact at Barca (fitting into the system, Messi, etc.) there is no denying he has the chops to be the real deal. His goal in the Final was textbook field-awareness, skill and power - shuffling back onside, deft first touch and powerful left-footed strike to the only place that would have beaten Iker Casillas from that angle. I just might have to watch more La Liga next year.

One thing I do have to agree with farlieonfootie on is that Neymar needs to stop the diving and play acting. At a July 4th party in the otherwise void of European football known as Alpharetta, Georgia, I had the pleasure of a short chat with Anders, a 16 year old visiting from Denmark. When mention of the former Santos phenom was inevitably made, my new young friend's first words, after granting the player's talents, were "he's a diver." Out of the mouths of near babes...

This is farlieonfootie for July 5.

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