Brazil's reserves upstage first choices
SOCCER: Brazil fielded five so-called reserves in Thursday's match
against Japan and the newcomers upstaged the regulars by inspiring the
world champions to their best performance of the World Cup.
Brazil's 4-1 win has left coach Carlos Alberto Parreira pondering
whether he should leave out leave out experienced players such as
captain Cafu, Roberto Carlos and Emerson for the second-round match
against Ghana on Tuesday.
With Brazil already qualified before Thursday's game but having
played well short of their capabilities against Croatia and Australia,
the usually conservative Parreira decided to do some tinkering.
Veteran full backs Cafu and Roberto Carlos, who have a combined age
of 69, were replaced by Cicinho and Gilberto respectively.
Gilberto Silva and Juninho Pernambucano were brought in to play in
front of the defence instead of Emerson and Ze Roberto and Robinho was
given the chance to partner Ronaldo in attack. All five outdid the
players they replaced as Brazil finally began to look like world
"We kept the ball on the ground and knocked it around in the
Brazilian way," said a delighted Parreira.
Cicinho and Gilberto finally brought some width to Brazil's attacks
and Robinho's speed and trickery was a vast improvement on the
relatively clumsy-looking Adriano.
Gilberto Silva was a rock in front of the defence and Juninho's
excellent passing gave Brazil extra options going forward. Both Gilberto
and Juninho capped their performances with second-half goals. Parreira
did not want to give anything away on his possible team to face Ghana.
Although he said it was the kind of problem coaches like to have, the
task of dropping the likes of Cafu, who has played in the last three
World Cup finals, would be a painful one for Parreira, who gave the same
player his World Cup debut in 1994.
"All the people who came in, Gilberto Silva, Juninho, Gilberto,
played well," said Parreira.
"But I don't consider it to be a dilemma. We showed that we're not
just 11 players, we're much more than this.
"It was important that the players who have never been to a World Cup
played a game to give them confidence."
"It was very important that we won this game in this manner."
Roberto Carlos, who is one of the favourites to lose his place,
appeared less than impressed with the performance, pointing out that, in
his absence, Brazil gave away a goal for the first time in seven
"It was a shame to have conceded a goal, we could have increased our
run without conceding goals," he said. "But the team played well."
DORTMUND, Friday, Reuters