By Suben Ravindran
Brazil will now come face to face with their rivals Portugal. These teams have met many times in friendly matches and in the famous World Cup match in 1966 in England. It has been explosive in many ways; this encounter will be no different. The last time was a friendly in Brazil when Portugal got thumped 6-2 in a 2008 friendly. Many people saw Portugal’s thrashing of North Korea (7-0) as a sign of mayhem to come, but let us not forget they play Brazil. Of course it was an excellent performance and nothing can be taken away, many observers are now comparing this result with Brazil’s 2-1 win over the North Koreans.
Photo from fOTOGLIF
The game dynamics of these games were different, Brazil faced a Korean team that was all out to make an impression and not lose their first game. The Koreans packed their defense like sardines and did not give the Brazilians space. Despite this Brazil still managed to squeeze in two good goals, but were caught on the break in the last few minutes because of the Brazilians’ openness in their play. The Koreans scored and it was a good goal, this actually proved to be their undoing in the second game when they faced Portugal. They played a very different game a very open game and the Brazilian game gave them too much confidence, perhaps the nostalgia of their meeting with Portugal in the 1966 World Cup when they were leading 3-0 before going down 5-3 against the great Eusebio and Portugal got to them. This open play got them punished and after the second goal Portugal looked more settled and decided to give us an exhibition match. This time it was not Eusebio, but they faced a certain Cristiano Ronaldo.
Portugal will turn on the heat again, Carlos Queiroz did a master stroke of a move by resting liedson on the bench and when he did bring him on he scored a goal against the North Koreans. Brazil without Kaka and maybe Elano will look to either, Julio Baptista, Ramires or Daniel Alves who can play in midfield too. This midfield will probably have more steel and the flair just toned down a notch. Brazil will not put out a reserve team, they will want to win this match or at least draw and Portugal will want to show that they can master the samba machine because make no mistake despite all the flak about Dunga putting out a defensive team, Brazil have shown that they can dance a good soccer beat and win a a game in the process.