Thursday, June 15, 2006

Finally the World Cup starts - Brazil enter the fray

It's not the World Cup until Brazil play. Unfair, perhaps, to the 31 other teams in the tournament but the flair, excitement, and colour of the Brazilians makes the World Cup what it is. They opened with a routine 1-0 win against Croatia last night, although the Balkan side fought well, and created enough chances to feel unlucky to have not achieved a draw. The winning goal came courtesy a stereotypical piece of Brazilian magic - the AC Milan player Kaka beautifully controlling the ball before side footing a shot into the roof of the net from 25 yards.

Brazil's history, as much as their current crop of players, makes them what they are. The players of the past trip off the tongue and are as synonymous with the tournament as Jules Rimet himself. But can Carlos Alberto Parreira's side win this time out. Certainly in Ronaldinho, Adriano and Kaka they have three of the World's finest attacking players. But the 'phenomenal one' Ronaldo is so totally overweight and disinterested that bringing him to Germany, let alone starting him in the first XI, appears a complete anathema. Surely the nippy Robinho will start in his place against Australia in Brazil's second match?

The defence too are open to question, with Croatia regularly opening them up last night. The aging legs of Cafu and Roberto Carlos are going to be tested severely by the heat in Germany as the tournament progresses. Still, Brazil surely have several more gears to accelerate through and the feeling persists that if they had to have scored more last night, they could have.

Welcome to the World Cup!

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