Brazil ended up being all they could be, and Croatia did their thing by refusing to end the game after 90 minutes. They must really like each other! Spin it now!
Match of the day: Brazil 4 – 1 South Korea
Brazil seems to be the only organization on Earth that values its history as a gift rather than a burden. There’s still something, the kind of feeling every football fan gets when he hears the word “Brazil”. Recent history says that they are no more special than some other international teams. Spain won two Euros in a row with a World Cup in between. Germany has reached two World Cup semi-finals, one Euro semi-final, one Euro final, winning the World Cup in consecutive tournaments. Damn, not long ago Chile won the Copa America in a row in the summers side by side. Now think about funny.
And yet, you think about Brazil and see those jerseys, and get the feeling that they send an All-Star team there every tournament. That they’re just playing a different sport and there’s something sacred about them as a team, even if you watch most or all of these players play week in, week out with the club team. their. Raphina playing for Brazil is not quite the same person who was at Leeds and now Barcelona, to choose at random. That reverence stems from the idea or hope that at any moment they will overtake their opponent or the entire tournament. That it will be 1970 again. They may not have invented the sport, but they perfected it. That’s what they thought, and they convinced most of us. Even if there isn’t much evidence of that in this century.
The problem is, tuna jogging hasn’t been a thing in a long time. At least not at the World Cup. Sure, Brazil came out with some great teams. The 2006 team was definitely like that All-Star team, where they had contenders for the title of best player in the world in every position. But they never took off, and obediently went out into the neighborhood. The 2002 team, the last to win it, is seen as more functional than inspirational. OG Ronaldo has only recently returned after his knee was turned into a deep hole, and they have only had useful players around for more than a generation. But they all fit together. The 2010 team was nothing short of outstanding and played like that. The 2014 hosts were even less prominent than Neymar, they advanced to the semi-finals where they were eliminated like any team ever eliminated. The team in 2018 played better, and should have done more than they did, when they lost to Belgium in the quarterfinals. But it also never reached its peak.
It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a Brazilian who’s completely Brazilian. We envision goals as works of art, scored at will, a game played out in the style that only Brazil and their outlook on life can create – fun , carefree, celebratory, unburdened. In this moment more than anything. It has rarely happened in the last 20 years or so. Maybe it’s because their entire team plays in Europe with the same system and tactics as everyone else. This may be because the talent gap between the best countries and those that rank lower among the 32 eligible countries is narrowing. Maybe it’s because players everywhere are healthier and easier in defensive forms and tactics and can run longer to neutralize more talented teams. All, in part, wherever the answer lies, a transcendent Brazil is something only in history and a myth.
We can now connect with previous generations of fans who worshiped the 1970 or 1982 team, if only for one game. Brazil beat South Korea today, scored three goals basically pictures, overcame them all, brought the team back. Their third and fourth goals were almost the ideal of a goal, a combination of anticipation, coordination, creativity and bravery that Brazil must display.
It’s a little easier to break the choreography, both before and after scoring, when you’ve got a 2-0 lead. But Brazil took the lead 2-0. They opened the scoring when Raphina could find space, his cross fortunately escaped everyone to find an unmarked Vini. Jr. on the other side to almost end up with an almost rude coldness. Their second game stemmed from another mark of this Brazilian team, their power and pressure, as Richarlison cleared the ball from an unsuspecting Woo-Young Jung who cleared Richarlison’s ball. The result is ankles instead of balls.
The South Koreans were probably hoping to hold on and try to counter-attack, and they created some chances. But the problem with this Brazilian team is that because they don’t rely on, or even need, full-backs in attack, even if their opponents pass the ball or create space, there are still four or five players. Brazil stays, depending on Casemiro’s position. . There is rarely space to run into behind or around them. Perhaps some teams could find a way to exploit the gap between their offensive and defensive five. Perhaps a team could use Eder Militao, who is not used to wide defense as he is usually in the center. Probably. But that’s a lot possible.
And these five attackers are so in tune and in harmony with each other, it will be a challenge for anyone to keep them quiet. If they need a goal, Casemiro can push further forward and give them more numbers. If they need to secure a one-goal lead, they have two or three options to cover with him in defence. They can recharge their wingers in an hour or 70 minutes if the starters are pent-up after the high-energy game they play, even without Gabriel Jesus.
It’s been a long time since Brazil had a team that always matched what we had in mind, from the stories they told to the way they played on the pitch. This seems to do it.
And now that I’ve said all that… they’ll get Modric in the next round.
Other results: Croatia 1 – 1 Japan (Croatia 3-1 on penalties)
This Croatian team is, at least in this era, strange. No doubt it has great players, and that midfield, and results are results. But it made it to the 2018 final with three wins in extra time, two on penalties and with all the brilliance of Luka Modrić, they’ve never really looked so good. They also never looked at all of that at stake. They will just play equal for 120 minutes, then pass.
It might just be a compliment to their determination and cohesion. Or it was just stupid luck. To be honest, they never looked different, i.e. better, at Euro 2021, where they were knocked out of the group stage and then lost to Spain by five points in the second round in a really hot match.
They didn’t look great here either, especially in the first half when the lack of a real striker seemed to have hurt them (know their pain). Perišić on the left wing or Modrić in the middle created openings a few times, but could not find that final pass or shot. Japan was marginally better, taking a well-deserved lead thanks to a neat scoring habit. They defended hard and did their job, which was to get out at the break.
You might think that Japan has the conditions to play with the lead, given their play style and how they beat Germany and Spain, who are playing on the counter-attack. But they retreated into cover as the game continued, the press was gone, and their lack of threat only made Croatia push the game higher and higher. That usually means it’s time for Ivan Perišić to head in the post:
If this sounds familiar, four years ago…
From there, Croatia seemed quite content to not lose anything, score or get a chance if it came but didn’t put in all the effort to create a goal. Perhaps they envisioned with the control they could exercise through Brodzović, Modrić, and Kovačić that something would eventually happen, but more importantly, they would never be threatened with abandoning the warrior. win.
It was pretty much the way it was, and overtime is a common occurrence when everyone is exhausted and also plays to not lose. Japan’s penalties are terrible and maybe that’s what they will unfairly focus on in the coming days, but penalties by definition are ruthless and rarely give definition. about what a team’s league should be like. Japan can be proud to have defeated both Spain and Germany, in terms of their development and how their principles and systems have paid off. To go any further than this, they’ll have to find an additional way to play.
Goals for the day
Lots to choose from. Perišić’s header was precise and ruthless. South Korea’s consolation was a thunderous shot from 30m. Seung-Hon Paik’s volley. But Paqueta’s goal, the whole process of building it, just makes you shake your head in disgust:
Does VAR damage anything?
Free today, thank god. There was a brief moment where we thought Japan’s goal would have been wiped out thanks to a paper-thin offside, but it wasn’t. Let’s hope it stays that way.
Is FIFA/Qatar okay?
A few days ago but made reading extremely boring what can enter the stadium as far as the signs of fans and wear and what not. Everyone knows the external factors in the match between Switzerland and Serbia, based on what happened the last time they played. You would think FIFA would update and secure the details of what to look for, but alas.
Did Alexi Lalas say anything stupid?
Think the length of the tournament is coming to him. Instead of taming today. He’ll need the days off to recharge and help us fill this out in the quarters.
A eulogy for the departed
We basically made it with Japan, so farewell to Korea and especially to Heung-Min Son, their country’s best player who led the team past Portugal and brought them here, a real pleasure to watch, who will definitely go back to the Premier League to score against Liverpool in both the league and the Champions League, because that’s what he does. And I love him no less!