Why did Brazil lose so badly?

Why did Brazil lose so badly?

The world still has not recovered from the shock of Brazil’s defeat to Germany in the Cup semifinals. It was a thrashing beyond anybody’s imagination, and even hardcore German fans would have felt a tinge of sorry for the Yellow Canaries after that painful, unprecedented 7-1 walloping.

So how did Brazil lose so badly? Some may attribute it to Neymar’s absence, but the fact remains that the mercurial forward couldn’t have done much to avert the tragedy. It’s simply because the biggest flaw was in Brazil’s defence.

In the absence of suspended Thiago Silva, David Luiz was expected to organize their defence, but he was as frayed as his hair. Once there was no leader, others in the backline like Maicon and Dante wandered aimlessly, providing acres of space for German forward Thomas Mueller, and midfielders – Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira and Tony Kross – in particular. The rest was history, as they say.

Of course, I am not trying to take anything away from the Germans, who played their own brand of beautiful game – pass and move – to leave the Brazilians in a daze. Again, this is not attempt to do a post-mortem on Brazil’s defeat, but an effort to look at, perhaps, the most unglamorous area of football – defence.

Forwards like Mueller or Lionel Messi thrill ris with their goal-poaching ability and the midfielders such as Socrates (Brazil 1982, 1986) vow us with their creativity. But defenders often get a cold shoulder from us, and at times unbridled anger for tackling down our favourite player.

But no team has won the Cup without having a strong defence line. In 1998, France entertained the world with free-flowing football and the belief to play that brand of game came from the presence of Laurent Blanc – a towering defender. Fabio Cannavaro was nicknamed Muro di Berlino (Berlin Wall) for his defensive abilities that played a massive role in Italy’s title triumph in 2006. Other Italian defenders like Franco Baresi and Paolo Maldini, though not Cup winners, tell us volumes about the importance of having strong defenders.

Franz Beckenbauer was the rock behind West Germany when they won the Cup in 1974, and his marking of Johan Cruyff of Netherlands has since then attained legendary status. Brazilians of a different generation had induced romance into football.

The names – Pele, Garrincha, Rivelino, Tostao, Jairzinho, Vava – will forever be remembered as synonym of high-quality football peppered with envious dose of creativity. But the Selecao had some powerful defenders like Nilton Santos, Djalma Santos and Carlos Alberto Torres, allowing the more fancied names to play the entertaining football that made Brazil the most adored and successful footballing nation in the world.

Cut to 2014, they even didn’t have a Robert Carlos to fall back upon and Mexico offered a hint to their fragile defence in the quarterfinals but Brazil escaped with a win. However, there was no place for them to hide against a more accomplished side like Germany.

Hope, Brazil might just go back to their old days – strong in defence and creative in mid-field. Football will be the prime beneficiary.

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