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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.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Santos Name Squad For Club World Cup 2011 in Japan

Santos coach Muricy Ramalho announced his 23 man roster for the Club World Cup which kicks off in Japan starting December 8. Santos will be without defender Adriano due to injury. Other teams in the tournament are Barcelona (Spain), Monterrey (Mexico), Al-Sadd (Qatar), Esperance (Tunisia), Auckland City (New Zealand) and the presently undetermined winner of the 2011 J League from the host nation. The tournament represents an opportunity for Neymar and Ganso to shine on the world stage and for Muricy Ramalho to showcase his defensive tactical ability, particularly in the event that Santos are given the challenge of stopping Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.

The Santos squad is as follows:

Goalkeepers
Rafael
Aranha
Vladimir

Defenders
Bruno Aguiar
Bruno Rodrigo
Durval
Edu Dracena
Vinicius Simon
Danilo
Leo
Para

Midfielders
Anderson Carvalho
Arouca
Henrique
Elano
Felipe Anderson
Ibson
Ganso

Strikers
Alan Kardec
Borges
Diogo
Neymar
Reteria

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Brazilians Sparkle in Europe With Goals Aplenty As Hulk Scores Again

This weekend, Brazilians sparkled in Europe, taking some of the limelight off their compatriots back home as the battle for Brazil’s Serie A title goes down to the wire. Here are some of the goals from European based Brazilians this weekend:

  • Hulk scores a brace and provides an assist in Porto’s 3-2 victory over Braga.
  • Kleber scored Porto’s third goal against Braga.
  • Thiago Silva opened the scoring for AC Milan against Chievo.
  • Alexandre Pato scored in AC Milan’s 4-0 victory over Chievo.
  • Michelle Bastos scored the third goal in Lyon’s 3-0 victory over Auxerre.

Hulk is clearly taking on the mantle of the hottest Brazilian striker in Europe as Porto are now unbeaten in 50 consecutive league games. The other question, lurking on everyone’s mind, is whether Michelle Bastos deserves a place in the Brazilian national team.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Hulk Powers Porto Past Shakhtar Donetsk in Champions League Group G

Hulk powered Porto to a crucial 2-0 victory in the Champions League on November 23 with a goal and instrumental play in the lead-up to an own goal by Shakhtar's Razvan Rat in injury time. Selecao midfield sensation Fernandinho hit the box in the 70th minute but it was Hulk who finally found the back of the net after latching onto a through ball from midfield by Joao Moutinho that sliced open the Shakhtar defense. The Brazilian ace dispatched a right footed shot to give the Porto the lead in a tense and complicated game in which both sides poured forward in search of the victory that would give them a chance of qualifying for the knockout phase of the Champions League. FC Porto are now third place in Group G with seven points, two points behind APOEL and Zenit St Petersburg. Porto will advance if they beat Russian Champions Zenit St Petersburg on December 6 at home.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Brazil Defeat Egypt 2-0: Hulk and Jonas Lead Attack

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.