Saturday, July 01, 2006

Brazil lost to France

It wasn't a surprise.

A few people were forecasting the defeat before the Cup; read the note of May 24th: Brazil is ready for failure.

Then, in the first two matches, Brazil had to struggle much to beat Croatia and Australia. The team played much better against Japan, when Parreira demoted the stars of old (Cafu, Roberto Carlos, Emerson) and went with the new, motivated, players (Cicinho, Juninho, Robinho); but Parreira said that "experience matters; to play beautiful is to win".
Parreira returned the old team against Gana; the team played very bad, but won by 3 x 0, and Parreira was happy.

Then, came the French. Unlike Croatians, Australians, Japanese and Ghanians, the French didn't flinch. They had won Brazil in 1986 and 1998. They knew that Ronaldo, ex-Phenomenon, is fat, Ronaldinho is constrained from doing the same as in Barcelona, Cafu and Roberto Carlos are aged.

Parreira made two changes. He put Gilberto Silva in place of Emerson, who was recovering from an injury. And he put Juninho instead of Adriano; Juninho, strong, swift, had been claimed by all in Brazil; Adriano had been slow in the other matches, but much because his partner was the even slower Ronaldo.
Parreira said that Brazil played well the first fifteen minutes; what he means is that, starting from the 15th minute of the first half, only France played. Zidane had all freedom he wanted; along with his talent, he commanded the French team to a overwhelming dominance over Brazil.

The first half finished 0 x 0. It was clear that it was a matter of time before France scored. What did Parreira do? Nothing.
At 12' of second half, Henry scored. Brazilian Television showed that, when Zidane prepared to cross the ball into the area, Roberto Carlos was near Henry; when Zidaned kicked and Henry ran towards the ball, Roberto Carlos preferred to stay still outside the area, arranging his socks !!!!

Then, Parreira changed. Fist, he took out Juninho and put Adriano !?!? The team needed speed, and he added slowness.
Fifteen minutes before the end, Parreira did what Brazilians were asking: put Cicinho and Robinho. The team got noticeable better; indeed, only in the final minutes did Brazil manage to shoot against the French goal.
It was too late, though. Actually, Brazilians knew that if the match lasted longer, France would probably score more.


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