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This blog reflects on soccer qua football all over the world. The blog has a specific investment in attractive, attacking football and, as such, focuses on Brazil, the most emphatic historical exponent of the beautiful game.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Brazil to Play Ultra-Attacking Formation at Copa America

Brazil's coach Mano Menezes has confirmed that Brazil will play a 4-2-1-3 formation against Venezuela with Paulo Henrique Ganso behind Neymar, Robinho and Alexandre Pato. For purists of Brazilian football, this is a dream, ultra-attacking formation that essentially fields four attackers in front of two defensive midfielders in the form or Lucas and Ramires. The question raised by this formation is how much room Mano will give the full-backs Andre Santos and Dani Alves to roam forward and contribute to the attack. Mano's formation represents one of the most offensive Brazilian line-ups since the World Cup championship team of 2002, where Ronaldo spearheaded the attack behind Rivaldo and Ronaldinho in Luiz Felipe Scolari's famous 3 Rs combination. In 2002, Ronaldinho acted as the playmaker with complete license to come forward, knowing that his back was covered by Gilberto Silva and Kleberson, two of the best defensive midfielders in the world. In the 2011 Copa America, the main Brazil player to watch will be Ganso and his ability to dictate the tempo of the game. As a creative playmaker, Ganso is slated to inherit the role played by the great Socrates in 1982 and 1986. Brazil have sorely lacked a creative midfielder since Socrates, even though Kaka assumed that role but failed to dominate the position in both the 2006 and 2010 World Cups. But if Ganso can stop and start games the way he has for Santos, Brazil could well emerge as a serious contender in Argentina at the 2011 Copa America, particularly if he has the courage to go forward and pose a threat on goal as well. The other player to watch is obviously Neymar, but we should expect him to be well complemented by Scudetto champions Robinho and Alexandre Pato of AC Milan.

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