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Why Brazil were good but not good enough

On a windy night, Brazil went out of the World Cup. To one other European crew and once more within the quarter-finals. A cycle has ended, mentioned head coach Tite sticking to his stand of stepping down when the five-time champions’ race was run right here. Having equalled Pele’s file of 77 worldwide targets –that’s 15 greater than Ronaldo Nazario and 22 greater than Romario’s tally – Neymar Jr mentioned he isn’t positive of enjoying for Brazil once more.

Fine margins determine World Cup video games. David Trezeguet hit the framework and Italy grew to become world champions. Pablo Sarabia’s shot skimmed the submit and shortly after, Spain have been heading house. Having flung himself full stretch, Manuel Neuer might solely watch Lionel Messi’s angular drive go inches previous his aim on the Maracana earlier than Germany gained that ultimate. The penalty from Marquinhos had Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livacovic, so good at anticipating pictures from the spot, going the improper means nevertheless it pinged off the submit resulting in tears of pleasure and despair.

Also, video games are sometimes not gained by the crew that entertains or has a lot of the ball. Ask Spain. Or Brazil. Choreographed celebrations, audacious targets together with that Neymar Jr strike on Friday, one that may keep as a part of the highlights reel of this version, weren’t sufficient. The match the place they misplaced to Croatia was additionally one the place they have been tamed by an African crew. Both firsts.

“We showed once again what it means to never give up,” mentioned Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic. “Hats off to all my players who eliminated a massive tournament favourite and probably the best team. Only Croatia could do this. I think only teams with character can come back like this. It has sort of become normal for us.”

Did Brazil have that too? Tite didn’t agree that the crew lacked psychological fortitude mentioning their makes an attempt heading in the right direction (11; Croatia had 1) and that they led until the 117th minute. “When you play 90- minutes, two halves of extra time, then open the scoring, I don’t know,” he mentioned.

But was changing Vinicius Jr within the sixty fourth minute and Raphinha within the 56th additionally not indication of early indicators of panic? True, Croatia have been profitable in retaining him away from the ball for lengthy however like Neymar, Vinicius can affect video games in a single motion; he gained a Champions League ultimate that means. Accepting that criticism comes with the territory, Tite mentioned the replacements, Antony and Rodrygo, introduced completely different expertise.

Brazil had extra possibilities within the second half however weren’t environment friendly until Neymar determined to settle issues on his personal. Then they celebrated like they’d already gained. Half-time of extra-time was seen spent in celebratory hugs. Instead of making an attempt to handle the sport, Brazil tried to attain one other and have been caught on the counter-attack.

In 2014, Neymar absence on account of harm had David Luiz and Julio Cesar held his jersey whereas belting out the nationwide anthem earlier than the semi-final. The crew’s lack of ability to maintain feelings in test contributed to the implosion that adopted. It was exhausting to disclaim a way of that once more on Friday.

Croatia knew they must undergo and have been prepared for it. The midfield of Luka Modric, Matteo Kovacic and Marcelo Brozovic which Dalic mentioned was “the best in the world” didn’t “rush” issues once they had the ball. “That, I think, was the most important thing,” mentioned the Croatia coach after attending to his second successive World Cup semi-final. To do this in opposition to a crew with the attacking expertise of Brazil says lots about their psychological resilience.

In six World Cup’s this century, Brazil have been taken to the tie-breakers solely as soon as, by Chile within the spherical of 16 in 2014. Eight of Croatia’s final knockout video games have gone to extra-time; Croatia have gained 5 of the final video games that went to penalties. “Once we get to penalties, that’s when we become favourites. I sense that the opponent feels like they have lost the game already because Croatia have won so many things on penalties. But still you have to get to the penalty shootout, that’s not so simple” mentioned Dalic.

Only Argentina have gained successive penalty shootouts within the World Cup, in 1990.

Starting the penalty with a save additionally means, mentioned Dalic, giving your crew confidence and making the opponents shaky “as they start thinking, he will save again.”

Also, penalties will not be lotteries as Luis Enrique has identified. The former Spain coach mentioned it was about observe and talent. Unlike Rodrygo’s effort, Croatia’s penalties right here have been so effectively executed that Gary Lineker can now replace his remark to soccer being a easy sport of 11 v 11 however then it goes to penalties and Croatia win.

Tite had spoken of not enjoying high quality European groups in friendlies might hamper Brazil’s preparations. Brazil hadn’t performed one since March 2019. Brazil handled Serbia and Switzerland however the wins weren’t with out wrestle. Croatia have been a step up. So, obrigado Brazil. The World Cup will miss you. You have been good however not adequate.



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