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Scolari’s right: Drastic change unneeded as Brazil attempts to regroup

Jul 9, 2014, 9:42 AM EDT

Brazil Soccer WCup Brazil Germany AP

Humiliating loss? Yes. Need for drastic change? Not really.

There won’t be a lot of positivity coming out of Brazil camp after “The Machine” stomped on “The Little Canary” to the tune of a 7-1 throttling in the first semifinal of the 2014 World Cup, especially considering the prospects of neighbors Argentina hoisting the trophy in Brazil’s tournament remain in tact for at least a few more hours.

But Brazil should listen to Luis Felipe Scolari’s big picture comments after the brutal beatdown.

[ MORE: Brazil's loss hits the papers | Where does 7-1 rank all-time? ]

Yes, it’s the “worse day of his life” but it doesn’t call for a complete overhaul of Brazil’s system or mentality (the actual players’ mentality? Probably).

From SkySports:

“I don’t agree that we’re behind from a strategic standpoint. This was my third loss. But this was the worst loss,” he said.

“Should we have to reinvent our team after one game? Half this team will play at WC 2018. At least 13, 14, 15 of them will be in 2018.

“What happened today had little to do with how we had been playing. We lost control… that’s not normal but it happens.”

Fact 1: Big absences

Let’s start with the obvious: Brazil was missing two of perhaps the Top 10 players in the world. While that doesn’t excuse a six-goal drubbing, the absence of Thiago Silva and Neymar clearly sapped the strength of a mentally-weak side that was far from in form.

Phrased differently: when you’re holding your injured superstar’s jersey in the Starting XI photo and wearing hats lamenting his absence, things aren’t off to a positive start. This was a tough injury to a soccer play, not the imprisonment of a political hero on unjust grounds.

Strategically, Brazil had to contend with factors that would’ve made it difficult to top any strong team, let alone a humming machine like Germany. Neymar was their only elite finisher, and was on form, while Thiago allows David Luiz a lot of freedom (something we’ll see shine this year at PSG). Without them, Scolari was already swimming upstream.

Fact 2: Still really good

Anyone remember the 2013 Confederations Cup last summer in Brazil? The host nation thumped the competition with a 5-0 record and 14-3 in goals. They beat Japan 3-0, Mexico 2-0, Italy 4-2, Uruguay 2-1 and Spain 3-0. That’s not so bad.

Their U-23 team finished second at the 2012 Olympics, losing only the final to Mexico in claiming silver. They’ve lost once since August, a 1-0 friendly loss at Swizerland, and are fine.

Except for that whole 7-1 thing.

Fact 3: Scolari chose… poorly (or had choices limited)

Bizarre in a match without Thiago and Neymar that Scolari would omit veterans Ramires and Dani Alves from the Starting XI, and opt against Willian and Paulinho.

But the bigger point is that in a tournament where intensity and form mattered, here is a list of players the manager did not choose for the roster (whether via inability or simply selection). Some weren’t coming off banner years, while others certainly were:

Rafinha (Bayern Munich)

Miranda (Atletico Madrid)

Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid)

Lucas Moura (PSG)

Sandro (Tottenham Hotspur)

Alexandre Pato (Sao Paolo)

Rafael da Silva (Manchester United)

Fact 4: Weird run-up

Every host nation deals with the hassle of preparing for a major tournament without any intense qualifying bouts, and Brazil’s schedule was a bizarre one.

Brazil tried to schedule some intensity between the Confederations Cup and the World Cup, but you can’t replicate desperation. The style Brazil played allowed them to crush Australia 6-0 and Portugal 3-1. They topped Chile 2-1 in a November friendly and beat Panama and Serbia easily in two run-up matches to the World Cup.

But when the ball kicked for the tournament, they never found their stride outside of Neymar. The Croatia win was controversial, the Mexico draw showed no finish, Cameroon may have been throwing the dang thing and both Chile and Colombia can argue that they deserved wins.

This tournament was in Brazil, but it was not their property.

Finally…

Brazil got destroyed by Germany on Tuesday. They also hadn’t lost at home in the better part of four decades. Don’t send them to the scrap heap just yet.

  1. braxtonrob - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:10 AM

    Brazilian teams are always feared, … however, their defense has always been highly suspect; combine that with a ‘perfect storm’ of a team believing their own hype, playing a team more determined than ever, some key missing players, and ‘bam!’, you have a loss that has been a lonnnnnnnnnnnnnng-time coming.

    No one expected 7-1, but many thought 3-0 or even 4-0 was very possible.

  2. dkalev - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:18 AM

    Fact 5: over-rated. Both individually and as a whole.

  3. inbound2me - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:33 AM

    Fact 5: Germany played near-flawless. Yes, easy to do against an opponent that did everything but literally just lie down on the field but still, SO much attention worldwide on Brazil’s collapse and not enough on Germany’s stellar performance. And I speak as a Brazil fan. As for Scolari’s post-match appraisal, I think it was right thing to say but not sure he completely believes it. Moving forward, the wise approach is stay calm and take methodical steps throughout analysis. It’s a long process filled with many elements. I think Scolari’s comments were aimed at restoring calm while, deep down, he knows this ship sunk on account of holes in it. It’s naive for anything to think, however, he would throw his players under the bus with some radical “We all suck!” comment. No question some heads are going to roll in coming weeks and months…maybe even Scolari’s (hoping not)…..but for now, it would be important everyone just chills and let the slow, careful autopsy commence.

  4. urbanrunoff - Jul 9, 2014 at 10:58 AM

    not so sure. Brazil wanted to make it a one on one battle betting on their physicality. Germany avoided this by moving the ball and playing a fast and tight game. No stars no divas but one strong team. Brazil needs to reevaluate their soccer mentally and bring back the jogo bonito

    • lyleoross - Jul 9, 2014 at 12:05 PM

      Best comment here. Brazil moved to a physical style, a style that has been largely displaced by technical play. The Germans use a combination of technical play, and aggressive style. They’ve combined the Brazilian “beautiful game” with a crowbar, but the crowbar is the team creating opportunities and driving into them. The underlying message that soccer is a team sport that requires team play has been lost during this WC. Too much focus on Messi, Suarez, Neymar, Ronaldo etc.

  5. martin492013 - Jul 9, 2014 at 11:04 AM

    What would have the score been if Germany had Marco Reus on the pitch?

  6. wwsiralexd - Jul 9, 2014 at 11:16 AM

    In 1994, Brazil depended on Bebeto and Romario.

    In 2002, they relied on Rivaldo and Ronaldo.

    In 2014, they built around Neymar, who at 22 was not even a complete player yet.

  7. herogoesallin - Jul 9, 2014 at 11:18 AM

    these nbcs writers dont know soccer. germany missed reus.

  8. bairdmartin31 - Jul 9, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    That Brazilian back line yesterday was running around like youth league team trying to protect goal. Having your spirit crushed because of injury to a star player is one thing, complete defensive breakdowns by unorganized center backs is another thing. It’s hard to believe that without Thiago Silva, yes one of the best defense men in the world, there was total lack of communication and leadership in that defensive third. It really makes you wonder if the Brazilian myth is mostly due to the greatness of individual players that can make the rest of the team fall in line.

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