Brazil produced yet another scintillating display in a 2-0 victory against Egypt that showcased the midfield revolution ushered in by coach Mano Menezes since taking charge of the Selecao. Brazil dominated possession in the first half, allowing the Egyptians to obtain scarcely a touch on the ball through short, one touch passing. Jonas and Hulk retreated deep into midfield to help out Lucas Leiva, Fernandinho, Bruno Cesar and Hernanes as Brazil withdrew their strikers while pulling the midfield front line further up the pitch, closer to goal. Hulk dominated the proceedings, partnering effectively with Dani Alves on the right flank and leveraging his favored left foot to cut inside and interchange with Bruno Cesar, Hernanes and Fernandinho. Hulk’s attacking play on the right flank led to Brazil’s first goal via a bullet of a cross that the poaching Jonas tapped into the back of the net in the 39th minute.
Egypt asserted themselves more strongly in the second half, but Brazil continued to dominate through inspiring midfield play. Hulk switched over to the left flank for much of the second half to destabilize the Egyptian defense while Hernanes drifted right and Dani Alves pushed forward as an auxiliary right sided attacker. The second goal came from an attack on the left flank that led to a Bruno Cesar free kick. In the 59th minute, Fernandinho headed Cesar’s free kick into the hands of keeper Ahmed Al Shenawi. Al Shenawi spilled the ball directly into the path of the opportunistic Jonas who tapped it in for his second goal of the evening.
The match revealed the power of the Fernandinho-Hernanes midfield pairing, Hulk’s ability to hold the ball and the possibilities inherent in the Jonas-Hulk strike partnership, particularly given that Brazil lack a strike partnership at present. Brazil have now secured five consecutive victories and can claim a thoroughly revamped midfield in the course of 17 months. Now, Mano needs to work on producing more goals. Based on today’s performance, one attractive option would be to play Neymar, Leandro Damiao or Jonas, and Hulk in a three pronged attack in front of Fernandinho and Hernanes.