How to frustrate Brazil — by Robinho
Having daubed graffiti on the wall of Brazil’s dressing-room in Santiago — “There must be respect for the best national team in the world,” he wrote — Robinho then proceeded to tell the Chilean players where they had gone wrong.
“Maybe if they had played more defensively, they would have made it more difficult for us. But they tried to play us on equal terms and you saw the result,” he said.
It was sound advice. Bolivia did exactly what Robinho suggested and ground out a 0-0 draw in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday.
It is no coincidence that Brazil’s two best results in their two years under Dunga — Sunday’s win over Chile and their 3-0 defeat of Argentina at the Copa America final last year — have come against teams who have gone out to attack them.
On both occasions, Brazil survived some early pressure and then sliced through their opponents with counter-attacks of stunning precision.
In addition to their lethal finishing, Brazil used their physical prowess and repetitive midfield fouling to bully their opponents into submission.
Of the teams who have dared attack Brazil, only Paraguay, another physical side, have profited, winning 2-0 in Asuncion in June.
It is a completely different story against teams who shut up shop and defend for 90 minutes. Dunga’s Brazil simply do not have the creativity to break them down.
On Wednesday, the Brazilians often seemed to have little idea what to do when they had the ball and rarely can they have misplaced so many passes. In their desperation, they were reduced to throwing themselves over in the penalty area in the hope of winning a penalty.
Sadly, Robinho has hit the nail on the head. Under Dunga, Brazil have become a strictly counter-attacking team.
PHOTO: Robinho lies on the ground in pain after a play as Brazil team mates Ronaldinho and Diego stand over him, during their World Cup 2010 qualifier against Bolivia in Rio de Janeiro September 10, 2008. REUTERS/Bruno Domingos