We at MTJAG have a strong passion for football- with freekicker originally pledging the sacrifice of his left nut to glory for Arsenal, and I, offering  his right one for Liverpool’s greatness.

But that’s the EPL. There are a few  International friendlies this weekend, we’d love us some football. We’ve got Brazil vs England, and Argentina vs Spain.  Without much further ado, we’re going to preview 2 of them. Part 1: Brazil vs England.

Location : Qatar

Likely XI

England

Green-Brown-Upson-Terry-Warnock-Barry-Milner-Lampard-S.Wright Philips-Rooney-Crouch

Brazil

Cesar- Maicon-Lusiao-Lucio-Aurelio-Melo-Gilberto-Diego-Kaka-Robinho-Fabiano

BRAZIL vs ENGLAND: Formation and Lineups
BRAZIL vs ENGLAND: Formation and Lineups

Overview

With choices like Rio Ferdinand, Johnson, and the irreplaceable Gerrad injured , this is going to be quite a big test for the Lions, and a chance to try out a couple of new faces.

Brown might be the automatic choice at left back for the lack of anyone else, and Warnock will probably start at the opposite end. Barry and Milner will provide Lampard the support at midfield. Peter Crouch , the android who cannot help but score in an English jersey may end up partnering Rooney up front. Capello has fared much better than his predecessors, getting England through to WC2010 without too much of a hassle, and the team seems to be scoring goals by the dozen (granted that many of them were against piss-poor opposition), and other than Michael Owen, the rest of England seem to be quite pleased with the Italian so far.

Brazil, in the meantime have a slight embarrassment of riches. They’ve already qualified for next year’s world cup in clinical fashion, topping the rigorous South American group (as have England too in their respective group), and even without the likes of Pato , Adriano,  and Ronaldinho (slowly getting back to some form), they look every bit a dangerous squad. Fabiano will get the start up front, with Manchester city’s Robinho. Kaka will patrol the midfield. The rest of the XI either select themselves or are part of Dunga’s list of lovechilds (G. Silva).  Dunga has been under fire by the Brazilian press, fans, and the general football lover for robbing the  “Joga Bonito” out of the game. But just like his playing days, he bows down to none,  and believes that the system in place guarantees success.  In the process , he astonishingly even came out with a reasoning that the critics are actually a product of a mass conspiracy which wants Brazil to not succeed by resorting to the beautiful game!

Matchup: Brazil on Attack vs English Defense

As effective as team Brazil is, don’t expect to see the flamboyant team of yesteryear. Under Dunga, the team now plays in a somewhat criticized but very effective style, as reflected by the results.

1.The tremendous Maicon has the tendency to stray forward and press and he will exploit the flanks .
2. Gilberto Silva will provide some support in the midfield, but the key here are Kaka and Diego.
3. With Aurelio having the tendency to move towards centre midfield, look for Kaka to attack Brown on left flank, or Terry at the centre, thus opening up Fabiano to be man-marked by Upson. In the form that Fabiano has been, Upson’s night is going to be quite difficult.
4. Robinho will be pressing along with Kaka at the centre to provide John Terry the double headache of worrying about him as well as the roving Kaka.
5. Diego hence will have the choice of running into open zones to create the openings required for Brazil to exploit the English defense.
6. This strategy will force England to pull back Wright Philips to provide extra cover down the left Flank, and Milner to tread back to manage Diego.

Brazilian Samba
BRAZIL ON ATTACK - SAMBA style

MATCH-UP: England on Attack vs the Brazilian Defense

It’s possible that Crouch plays just a little behind Rooney, but England might actually benefit pulling back Rooney as shown in the picture below. The best way is to attack Brazil through the centre.

1. Gilberto Silva and Melo are hard tackling defensive midfielders, but speed is not their forte. England might be served best to attack that Brazilian belly.
2.  Rooney should play a more withdrawn role – almost giving England a 4-4-1-1 formation, and allowing Lampard, Wright Philips and Rooney to attack Silva and Melo.
3. This may force Brazil to aid the 2 by allowing Aurelio to cover, leaving Wes Brown to wander forward and provide some much needed flank play.
4. If Joe Cole was present and in top form, he could have troubled Maicon, but with Milner (or anyone else), the best option is to hope that Maicon gets caught out of position once too often to exploit the Left flank.  Milner might be better served cutting in again.
5. After the half, if Crouch gets too little service, it might make more sense to substitute him with Bent or someone else of similar capacity.

ENGLAND ON ATTACK - Fish n Chips
ENGLAND ON ATTACK - Fish n Chips

Key to a Brazlian Bash: Win the Midfield battle.

Without Gerrad, it should be a little easier. Brazil is more of a counter attacking team these days, but 1 additional playmaker would have helped carve open the English defense. Ronaldinho might have been perfect if in form, but he isn’t. Brazil should realize the relative inexperience of the back 4 (Save terry of course).  It would greatly help if they play like Brazil, and not Dunga’s XI.

Key to English Glory:
Treat Brazil like a European Team.

Make no mistake about it, this is not your 82 or even your 2002 Brazilian team. This team is quite physical, and will make you pay if treated otherwise. Unlike older teams, they are comfortable even with relatively less ball position, as they hit on the counter.  England must attack them through the middle and not from the flanks like they might fancy against a South American team normally. They should exploit the lack of speed in the heart of the Brazilian defense.

MTJAG’s BALLS OF STEEL PREDICTION

England 2 : Brazil 1

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