Brazil proved to be too “EFFICIENT” for Argentina in the latest version of the superclasico clash of the titans in stealing a 3-1 victory in Rosario, Argentina. Argentina officials and players had hoped moving the game to the fortress in Rosario Central’s stadium would give a slight edge to them and heap more pressure on Brazil. Turns out, this Brazil side needed only a small window provided through set pieces to open up the match in their favor and put all the pressure on Argentina. In doing so, Brazil have booked their plane tickets to South Africa and left their eternal rivals in danger of missing out.
The game began with Argentina pressuring from the opening whistle as anticipated in our preview. Messi and Tevez were working tirelessly to win the ball in the offensive third. In a matter of seconds, they won the ball at midfield and Argentina put together the best sequence of the game with a 14 touch sequence that led to Maxi Rodriguez serving a low first post cross that Carlos Tevez could not convert and Julio Cesar cleared for a corner. A very promising start for the Albicelestes.
The play continued with Argentina maintaining much of the possession and pressuring the Brazilians to regain possession in their own half. A key play that would dictate the world class elite players Brazil has (and the US lacks) would be in the 6th minute. The ball was being played out of the back by Lucio and Maicon under tremendous pressure from Argentina’s front line. Most, if not all players and teams worldwide would just knock the ball as far away as possible to relieve the pressure. Not this Brazil side, they calmly came out of the back with combination play inside their own 18 yard box with even their Goalkeeper being a part of the sequence (We will be posting the video of this sequence in a separate article).
To be fair, Brazil did not create one single scoring opportunity nor a shot on goal in the entire first half. Both Brazilian goals came off set pieces. The first was in the 23rd minute when Elano served in a beautiful ball that an unmarked Luisao headed in side netting from 10 yards out. Mind you it was clearly something the team had worked on since Lucio screened out Luisao’s man to free him up to head uncontested. The marking by Heinze and Dominguez was horrific! How they can leave the main Brazilian target, Luisao, that stands over 6’5 alone in the box is beyond comprehension.
Six minutes later another dead ball play resulted in a shot by Elano that deflected off the wall and led to a Maicon shot saved by Andujar but tapped in my an unmarked Luis Fabiano! UNMARKED IN THE 6 YARD BOX? Another amateur mistake by Argentina on set piece defense and a 0-2 hole against a WORLD CLASS Brazil side is a tall order.
The game played out perfectly for Brazil who had planned on sitting in the back, inviting Argentina to attack, then counter attacking with their lethal trio of Kaka, Robinho, and Fabiano. The rest of the half transpired with much of the same. Argentina created half chances and a Brazilian team that was defending with relative ease. Only Lionel Messi seemed to single handedly take on players with ease but had little company to link up with to put the finishing touches on any of his slalom runs.
The second half began with Brazil finally getting to the Argentine goal with 3 incredible counters in the opening 3 minutes of play. Argentina introduced Sergio Kun Aguero and altered their 4-4-2 for an unproven 4-3-3 to make way for the little trio of Messi-Aguero-Tevez. The Argentine pressure on Brazil goal was rewarded with a 30 yard laser from Jesus Datolo that Julio Cesar could only get his finger tips on in the 65th minute. It seemed this goal would provide an incredible last 25 minutes where Argentina could press and get a positive result.
Well, Kaka and Luis Fabiano had other plans and 2 minutes later sealed the deal on a patented counter attack. Kaka got possession inside the midfield center circle and played a perfectly weighted through ball to a Luis Fabiano who had invited the pass with a beautifully timed run. Poetry in motion! The finish was a world class chip that any fan who has played the game was begging for as Andujar was coming off his line to attempt to intercept. GOLASO!!! 3-1! Brazil had booked their ticket to South Africa and Argentina is now in crisis mode hanging on to their World Cup dreams by a thread.
Dunga clearly won this duel as his team had a plan and executed it to perfection. Brazil’s set piece offense and defense is incredible! You can clearly see his hand in the team. His team shows his attributes in being organized, patient, and having great work ethic. Every player knows they need to work defensively. Why do you think there is no Ronaldinho or Ronaldo on this team? No room for lazy prima donnas! Offensively they can hurt you with their ball possession when they need to, or can sit and counter better than anyone in world football. Look for Dunga’s side to be lifting their 6th World Cup next summer if they can stay injury free.
Diego’s side have not shown any type of consistency since he’s taken over. They have played good football for 20 minutes at a time in a handful of games. He has not found a solid starting 11. The teams set pieces offense and defense is non-existent. Defensively they pressure at times and sit at others. Offensively they rely on individual inspiration by their talented stars. Very little hope for this team IF they manage to book their place in South Africa.
Andujar-3 Julio Cesar-7
Heinze-4 Andre Santos-7
Maxi Rodriguez-4 Gilberto Silva-7
Mascherano-6 Felipe Melo-7
Tevez-5 Luis Fabiano-8.5 Man of the Match
|Shots (on Goal)||12(6)||7(4)|
|Time of Possession||56%||44%|