Serbia 0-2 Brazil: Five things we learned

first_imgBrazil avoided a shock result that had earlier seen Germany knocked out of the World Cup by defeating Serbia to finish top of Group E and book a last-16 tie against Mexico.COUTINHO STEPS UP AGAINNeymar is the poster boy of this Brazil squad and a lot is expected from him. However, Phillipe Coutinho is fast establishing himself as Brazil’s main man. He has already scored two goals and came up with a fine pass which split open the Serbian defence for the first goal. Coutinho is really having an excellent tournament.BRAZIL’S APPROACH TO THE GAMETite has instilled a less adventurous style of play. Under Tite, Brazil has become a bit conservative and is very well organised. The players are tactically more aware as they are not easily found out of position. They do not play an all-out attacking football like we have seen in the past. The build-up play is a bit slow but the pace changes when they get into the defensive third of their opponents. When the ball gets to their defensive third, they defend with 5 players [Casemiro joins the defenders] and rely on the pace of the attacking quartet of Neymar, Coutinho, Willian and Gabriel Jesus during counter attacks. The good thing about Brazil’s set up under Tite is that it reduces their susceptibility to counter attacks from their opponents.SERBIA’S BLUNT ATTACK The Serbians were slow and predictable when they launched their attacks. Due to Brazil’s compactness in the middle, the Serbians were forced wide. Brazil’s defence was very well organized and they dealt very well with the crosses from Dusan Tadic, Antonio Rukaniva, Aleksandar Kolarov and Filip Kostic. It is not surprising that out of 10 goal attempts from Serbia, only 2 were on target. In truth, it was a slow and below par performance from the Serbians.TITE’S TACTICAL CHANGEIn the opening 10 minutes of the second half, Serbia was on the front foot as they dominated the midfield and pegged back the Brazilians. In response, Tite replaced Paulinho with Fernandinho in the 68th minute. The introduction of Fernandinho proved timely as it enabled Brazil to regain control of the game. NEYMAR, NEYMAR, NEYMARNeymar needs to stop his “fancy” football and be more decisive in order to score more goals. He had a couple of chances to get on the score sheet but his over-elaboration on the ball let him down. Neymar is a player with great talent and ability but he needs to realise when he needs to be stylish and when he needs to be direct. When he sorts that out, the goals will flow. —Follow the World Cup with the Multimedia Group! With live English radio commentary on Joy 99.7 FM radio, Akan radio commentary on Asempa 94.7 FM and live streaming on, we’ve got you covered all-tournament long.last_img

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