BRAZIL BITE THE DUST IN RUSSIA AS BELGIANS MARCH ON
This wasn’t a trauma like that 7-1 demolition against Germany four years ago. No it wasn’t a mental meltdown of the sort we saw in Belo Horizonte. Brazil had the chances at either end of the game to win it especially in the 2nd half when they suddenly woke up to the fact that they were on their way out of the Worldcup. In between, however, they were simply picked apart by a Belgian side who had come close to perfecting the art of modern counter-attacking football. By the time the next World Cup rolls around in 2022, Brazil won’t have reached a final for 20 years. That’s not just a statistic. It’s increasingly beginning to resemble a complex. which suggests Brazil are no longer the Bosses in World Football anymore Much in the way they & their Fans would like to believe.
And so if the 7-1 hammering in 2014 in their Home country felt like anguish, this felt like anaesthetic: a numb Brazil lacking inspiration or leadership, playing in a weird atmosphere, solemn in all the places it should have been sunny, flat in all the places it should have been bouncing. There was a moment when, with Belgium 2-0 up, Eden Hazard and Axel Witsel just passed the ball between themselves five or six times in a row. Inside the Brazilian half. Before the whistle had even blown for half-time. That was the measure of Belgium’s supremacy during that opening period: Yes Brazil have been beaten in the past, they’ve been humiliated, but they’ve rarely been schooled like this.
On the touchline, Tite the Brazilian coach was comprehensively schooled by Roberto Martinez – a manager best known for winning the FA Cup with Wigan Athletic – who sent his side out in an imaginative shape that it took Brazil at least half the game to work out.
The set up
The defence – three men with the ball, four without it – were outstanding. Thibaut Courtois was superb in goal. But really this was a triumph that belonged to the front three: the lever and incisive Kevin de Bryne, the Irrepressible Romelu Lukaku and the slippery Hazard, all moving around as fluidly as water.
Behind that front 3, Maroune Fellaini and Witsel provided the buffer in midfield, the terrifying double afro brothers acting as a sort of secondary back line, not creating or distributing but simply deterring, screening, spoiling. Brazil tried to press high, but there was very little to press: no sooner had Belgium won the ball than they had spirited it up the field to the front three, pulling Brazil’s midfield to bits. Fernandinho, the unfortunate scorer of Belgium’s first goal, had a wretched game. Willian the scourge of Mexico in the Round of 16, scarcely figured at all. Even the great Neymar barely got a sight of goal. Restricted to half attempts and Penalty appeals
And yet, despite all this: Brazil had chances. For the first 10 minutes, as Belgium adjusted to their new formation, Brazil could have cut them open two or three times. Belgium’s goal, off the shoulder of Fernandinho from a near-post corner, came very much against the run of play. But instead of a fevered response, Brazil simply carried on at their same sedate pace, the same patient triangles, like singers belting the same song even though the backing music had changed. When one of those Triangles broke down and Belgium raced up the pitch, it felt like watching that Japan winner all over again. I felt didn’t this Brazilians watch the Belgium Japan game? Ball gets to De Bryne and he is allowed to size up the angle and Unleash a powerful Pile driver into the Net. With Marcelo doing what i really can’t explain with his Half ass attempt to block the shot.
The Penalty calls
The Neymar One was a Dive should have been punished with a Card, But the one by Kompany on Jesus was good shout. The ball may have ran out but it was Clumsy from the Mancity Man and for a person of his experience should have stayed on his feet.
so its on to the Semis for Belgium where the star Studded French team will be waiting and you bet its going to be a cracker