Monday, June 21, 2010

Kaka's Dismissal Overshadows Impressive Selecao Win

Brazil outclassed Ivory Coast and put three points on the board last night. They did so amidst the cynical tackles and rough plays by Les Elephants. The likes of the Toure brothers, Kalou, Dindane and Drogba could not cope with the passing and movement of the Selecao.

The physical challenges made the game less free-flowing and unfortunately it hampered Brazil's attacking rhythm. Luis Fabiano, like Maicon, chose to step up his game and against Ivory Coast, his finishing was devastating. Elano, making a habitual late run from midfield, scored in his second goal in as many matches.

More satisfying though is the form of Kaka. Though he started quite sluggishly, Kaka gradually warmed to the task and grew into the game. He started to run the game in the second half and when he played well, Brazil were able to exert their superiority on the game a bit more.

The physical treatment dished out by the Ivorians took its toll on the typically well-mannered Kaka and unfortunately, he was harshly dismissed for an innocuous body check on Kader Keita. The dirty Ivorian clutched his face and fell as if floored by a Muhammad Ali punch. That red card marred what was otherwise an outstanding Brazilian performance.

Brazil coach Dunga said this about the rough house tactic of the Ivorians.
"It was a very complicated game, a very physical game I might add. There were many fouls committed and all of us, who love football and desire beautiful football, always ask that the beautiful game is controlled. We have to know what is good football and what is not. So when the referee allows certain fouls or certain incidents to go unpunished that is not right, as happened today."
Ivory Coast could not get the better of the excellent Lucio and Juan. Drogba finally came alive very late in the match with an attempted header and later on scoring a consolation goal. Gervinho was sent on Sven-Goran Eriksson with good effect but it was a case of too little too late for Ivory Coast. With so much talent, Les Elephants had no reason to employ the "kick the opponent" tactic and as such, it was disappointing to see them resort to that.

As said, this was a strong Brazil performance, clinical and inventive. The main worry is that the defence can lose concentration at times (usually when the team had made the game safe). Lucio once again looked imperious bringing the ball out from defence - he has the brawn of Jamie Carragher with the ball skills of Rio Ferdinand.

O Fabuloso is off the mark! Am now looking forward to a potentially explosive Brazil-Portugal final group match.

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