Alan Green: Joy of samba soccer gives way to clinical efficiency
Brazil, as expected, were amongst the first to claim a place in the knockout stages but, seeing them against Ivory Coast at Soccer City in Johannesburg, I can’t but feel disappointed.
This is a team that is functional rather than fantastic, built in the image of their coach Dunga who was a wonderful holding midfield player and captain of the 1994 winning side but never someone who stirred the soul. It’s no surprise that his Brazilian side has two holding midfielders.
That isn’t to say there aren’t occasional glimpses of samba style. Fabiano scored a sensational opening goal and Robinho looks far happier than at any stage of his indifferent spell at Manchester City.
But I so wish Kaka could find the form that, only a couple of seasons ago, made him look the best player in the world. And I’m left thinking that, if Brazil go on to claim a 6th World Cup, will we remember the team of 2010 with relish? Or will we think of them as an accurate reflection of much of the football we’ve seen so far, dull?