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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.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Brazil Defeat Gabon 2-0 With New Midfield Quartet

Brazil defeated Gabon 2-0 on a horrendously soggy pitch that rendered it difficult for the Selecao to find its footing and play its trademark passing game. Brazil can credit their victory to first half goals by Sandro and Hernanes, the latter of whom can justifiably lay claim to the man of the match designation. Given injuries to Kaka and Marcelo, and the absence of Luiz Gustavo, Mano Menezes opted for yet another new midfield formation featuring Sandro and Elias behind Bruno Cesar and Hernanes. The lineup represented a strategic move to play more skilled midfielders in a deeper role in contrast to the stopper position that Brazil has historically fielded through the likes of Lucas Leiva, Gilberto Silva and Carlos Dunga. Hernanes carved out space on the right side of midfield and created a number of opportunities for the strike partnership of Hulk and Jonas. The match was dominated by scrappy play in difficult conditions but Brazil did well to come away with a victory and offer valuable playing time to the attacking trio of substitutes Willian, Dudu and Kleber. Brazil next face Egypt in Doha on Monday. The key takeaway, here, is that Mano is beginning to think about a quartet of skilled midfielders as opposed to a midfield dominated by one creative playmaker in the vein of Ronaldinho, Kaka or Ganso.

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