Weekly English Premier League Opinion - World Cup Edition Day 19
Brazil vs. Mexico
As is the nature of these high profile international tournaments, the teams that are growing in form tend to advance. So far, France and Brazil have been the best two teams that I have seen, and their dominance is really pushing them towards the sharp end of this World Cup. Some of the other plucky nations have represented themselves well, but as with Mexico today, there was only ever going to be one winner.
Mexico didn’t help themselves though. Selecting Rafael Márquez was a romantic decision not a successful football decision. Márquez has been an excellent player with a classy, elegant style that I have enjoyed watching, his duration in the professional game representative of his ability. So many enduring World Cup appearances is a remarkable feat and at 39years old he is a milestone that few will ever touch.
But when played up against the power running of the Brazil midfield, allied to the technical strengths of excellent athletes, Márquez never stood a chance. All the elegance and class were no match for the energy that Casemiro and Paulinho brought. The leadership and experience that Márquez’s selection brought far outweighed by a lack of mobility at the heart of the game, the gamble didn’t work. The half time substitute was massive admittance of a coaching decision gone wrong. And while the scoreboard had the game as even at the break, the impetus and advantage looked to have swung in the favor of Brazil.
From this midfield advantage Brazil were able to run through Mexico with great frequency. Ochoa the goalkeeper maybe Mexico’s most influential player, this statement tells its own story. The dynamic movement, positional interchange and creativity too much for Mexico in the end. Willian played like the world class talent that he is, he was a consistent threat often appearing in new areas of the field, playing with freedom. The connection between the front players was at times compulsive. Neymar pitched in with great contributions, but this was definitely a team result.
I like the balance that Brazil have, the pragmatic midfield working hard to lay the foundations for the front four. And their squad depth is outstanding. Casemiro is now suspended for yellow card accumulation; that just means Fernandinho steps in, is there anyone better to take his place?
Jesus worked extremely hard as the focal point, but the game is just not going for him right now. He didn’t play badly, not at all, he played well, but it’s the other guys who are showing more. I prefer Firmino to Jesus, I would prefer to see him start, but what a sub to bring on after 70minutes when the opposition are suffocated and demoralized.
Brazil were outstanding today, a very complete performance. A very complete team. And that’s the important piece; they have superstars that is for sure, but they play and win like a team.
By Jonny Carter - Chicago Fire