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The Carnival At Foxboro

Friday night in Boston the Brazilian soccer carnival came to an abrupt end as Venezuela stunned the #2 team in the world in front of 55,000. I had seen Argentina in the 1994 World Cup here in Boston, but this was my time watching Brazil and has been really looking forward to the game.

The atmosphere itself was great with the e Brazilian fans all decked out in yellow and carrying/wearing their flag. The teams entered to U2’s “Beautiful Day” playing in the background and the noise was some of the loudest I have heard at a soccer game.

Brazil was unbeaten in the previous 17 matches against Venezuela and everyone was expecting that winning streak to continue, but goals from Giancarlo Maldonado and Ronald Vargas gave Venezuela the surprisingly easy 2-0 win. The 2-0 score did not flatter Venezuela. They missed two absolute sitters and could have easily won this game 4-0.
Brazil was playing without playmakers Kaka or Ronaldinho and without any creative force in midfield they looked like a very ordinary team, far from the world’s second best team. Anderson in the middle of midfield tried hard, but hisgame is power and strength, not guile and creativity.

Upfront Brazil had Robinho, Alexandre Pato, Adriano which on paper looked good. Robinho has been rumored to be part of the Ronaldo to Real Madrid, but not on this performance. He appears very slight and easy to knock of the ball and I think he would have a hard time in the more physical Premiership. Pato looked good in flashes, but he was not the main target man as that honor fell to Adriano. Adriano is a physically imposing player, but he appeared to play like a center in basketball. The ball would go into him and he would hold it and pass it to a free player. It is difficult to play the Brazilian style of beautiful football when a lot of  the attacks are going down the middle to one player. Plus it makes it much easier to defend.

Pato and Robinho both had some nice runs, but neither of them had particular good games. Overall I was not that impressed with Brazil. The Brazilian defense was nonexistent when Maldonado ran through early on to score the opener and then Vargas completely baffled Luisao for the second goal.

Brazil starts World Cup qualifying later this month and even with this type of performance they have too much talent not to advance to the World Cup in 2010. On last nights performance Brazil will not win the World Cup in South Africa, but two years is a long time in soccer. Give Pena and Robinho two more years of development, get a fully fit Kaka and a revitalized Ronaldinho and then who knows. But there is a lot of hard work ahead for Brazil from Boston to South Africa.