Tactic Talk: Brazil lack defensive steel to compliment attacking flair

Brazil’s 2-2 draw against Paraguay saw two very different sides to the five-time World Cup-winning nation. While the game saw the array of attacking talent which has typified Brazil sides throughout the history of international football, Paraguay reversed Brazil’s one goal advantage, only for Fred to come off the bench to rescue a late point for his side.

Brazil began the game brightly, and five minutes before half time, their energy saw them take the lead, a combative display from Chelsea midfielder Ramires secured possession, as the ball reached Jadson, the Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder fired home from the edge of the Paraguay area. However, a swift counter-attacking move saw Paraguay level 10 minutes into the second half, with Manchester City striker Roque Santa Cruz arriving unmarked between two Brazil defenders to find the net and put his side back on level terms.

Should Paraguay’s first goal have highlighted any Brazilian defensive frailty, their second would have done very little to ease any concern. With Barcelona right-back, Dani Alves dispossessed in his own penalty area, three Paraguay players were able to take a touch before releasing the ball inside the Brazil box; the latter of the three, Nelson Haedo Valdez, slotted home to put Paraguay in front.

Brazil’s attacking capability once again shone through as The Samba Boys sought an equaliser. In the final minute of normal time Brazil’s substitute, Fred, latched onto Ganso’s deft flick to secure a point. While Fred’s late strike was a relief to those in yellow and green, the 2-2 draw was the latest game which has seen one of the tournament favourites fail to reach their best form. While the two Brazil goals showed glimpses of the attacking threats within the squad, the main concern will be the performances of an equally talented defence. With a back four of Barcelona’s Dani Alves and Inter Milan’s Lucio, both Champions’ League winners, alongside AC Milan’s Thiago Silva and Fenerbache’s Andre Santos, as well as the likes of Chelsea’s David Luiz and Lucio’s Inter team-mate, Maicon, among the Brazil substitutes, the Brazil defence is one of talent, experience and depth. While the expectations of their attackers will always come before them, the wealth of quality available to Brazil head coach, Mano Menezes commands its own image of excellence.

As Brazil look to improve and progress to the latter stages of the tournament, those on the fringes of the starting line-up will be looking to prove themselves in the remainder of Brazil’s Copa America campaign. With two disappointing draws in their opening matches, Menezes may consider looking to the embarrassment of riches at his disposal, both offensively and defensively, in a bid to find his best combinations from some of the sport’s finest talent, as his Brazil side look to chase further glory to add to their illustrious roll of honour. But as Brazil’s attackers improved on their opening stalemate, the focus will undoubtedly be on building from the back.

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