Friday, 18 June 2010

Brazil Still Dancing to the Samba Beat

Brazil 2 North Korea 1, Johannesburg, Ellis Park

With so much talk about the ball being used in South Africa, it was pleasing to watch at least one player bend it to his control and whim. And of course who else would it be than a Brazilian?

Maicon's swerving right-foot shot from a seemingly impossible angle against North Korea was surely the individual goal of the tournament to date and it only served to underline the lack of flair elsewhere.

Ok you could argue Dunga's men were not exactly at their flowing, samba best but they are always worth watching if they can produce moments like these. Did he mean it or not? Surely if he meant to cross the ball then he would have used the inner part of his foot to send it away from the goalkeeper. By wrapping his outside foot around the much maligned Jabulani he deliberately wrong-footed Ri Myong-Guk in the Korean goal. Not quite the Roberto Carlos famous banana free-kick...but not far-off. Some goal.

The second goals was also inherently Brazilian in style. Robinho was the creator, threading a beautiful pass through to Elano, who barely had to break stride before slotting it nonchalantly into the bottom corner. When it all comes together the Samba Kings can make the game look ridiculously easy.

That's not to say North Korea didn't cause Dunga's men a few problems, as was evident from the wonderful goal that brought them back into the match. There aren't going to be to many problems with any ball if you keep your head over it and give it a good wallop. Ji Yun-Nam certainly did this following an excellent first touch to bring the thing under control. Unfortunately for the Koreans it came a little too late to mount a desperate, final charge.

Interesting game next up for Brazil: Drogba and Ivory Coast on Sunday. Robinho looks to be fit and firing but Kaka needs to shrug off his niggling injuries and Fabiano could do with a goal. If Brazil needs any more motivation then how about the fact that some commentators are saying that Argentina has taken over the role of entertainers in this World Cup?

Now that just won't do. Time to start up the drums and get the party started. Maicon will show the way...

How they lined up: Julio Cesar, Maicon, Lucio (Captain), Juan, Bastos, Melo (Ramires, 84, Yellow card), Elano (Daniel, 73), Silva, Kaka (Nilmar, 78), Fabiano, Robinho

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