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Brazil cruise towards Bolivia however want sterner checks going into the World Cup

Brazil‘s relationship with the World Cup is fully binary. They have received 5, misplaced the others — and there may be nothing in between.

On Friday they set out on the street to what they hope can be World Cup win No. 6, and their first in 20 years, with a 5-0 win over Bolivia that was so snug that it serves extra as a lift to morale than as a check of their virtues.

Bolivia coach Cesar Farias had talked up his aspect and their want to satisfy any opponents on equal phrases, however he’s effectively conscious of the fact. Bolivia’s important goal is to choose up factors at dwelling, on the excessive altitude of La Paz. He left a few of his greatest gamers at dwelling to arrange for Tuesday’s go to of Argentina, and set off to Brazil for an train in injury limitation.

The distinction between the edges was a chasm. Brazil may simply have been two targets up within the first 5 minutes. After 14 minutes, Brazil had exchanged 118 passes, towards Bolivia’s three. It was assault versus defence, and targets had been a mere query of time.



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By half-time, amid a downpour in Sao Paulo, Brazil had been two up with targets that make clear how coach Tite is constructing his aspect put up Russia 2018. The first got here from a brief nook on the precise, performed again for Danilo to whip in a cross that was powerfully headed dwelling by Marquinhos. And the second got here down the opposite flank, with left-back Renan Lodi reaching the byeline after an alternate with Neymar and squaring low for Roberto Firmino to faucet in on the far put up.

Marquinhos was a fixture within the group over the past set of qualifiers, however come the World Cup he was cruelly and absolutely mistakenly left on the bench. Come the fateful quarterfinal defeat to Belgium, Brazil clearly missed their quickest centre-back, and now it’s not possible to think about a Brazil aspect with out him.

The place of the crosses from the full-backs can be important. Tite’s thought is for a extra defensive proper again, setting up from deep and in addition providing cowl. On the opposite flank, Lodi is given license to bomb ahead, with Douglas Luiz, an additional defensive midfielder, to make sure that the house behind shouldn’t be left as vacant because it was towards Belgium. This additionally influences the place of the wingers. Everton on the precise is anticipated to remain broad, whereas with Lodi overlapping, Neymar is free to wander infield.

And then there may be Liverpool‘s ahead Firmino. One of Tite’s massive Russia 2018 regrets is that he persevered with Gabriel Jesus because the striker. Since then the Manchester City striker, lacking this time via harm, has been utilized in a large position. Firmino’s time within the place has been an amazing success, and Brazil received final yr’s Copa America on dwelling floor.

That mentioned, the construction of the Brazil aspect could be very totally different from that of Liverpool, and there’s a worry that Firmino and Philippe Coutinho search to function in the identical house. But Firmino can look again at two centre-forward model targets on this recreation — he added the third simply after half-time, arriving to show dwelling a low cross from Neymar. And Coutinho additionally bought on the scoresheet, including the final aim with a cute header after Brazil’s left aspect labored effectively as soon as extra, Lodi slipping in Neymar for a well-flighted cross.

The proper flank didn’t perform as effectively; Everton appeared uncomfortable within the position and gave method to Rodrygo of Real Madrid, who was closely concerned within the fourth aim, slicing in to feed Coutinho, persevering with his run into the field and making contact with the cross, which was inadvertently turned previous his personal keeper by Bolivia centre-back Jose Maria Carrasco.

But with the end result by no means doubtful it was all too simple. Is Firmino the precise selection? Can he and Coutinho fireplace collectively? Can the absence of Richarlison from the beginning lineup be justified?

On the street to Qatar, Brazil want these inquiries to be posed in a means that Bolivia had been by no means in a position to do, and Tuesday guarantees a extra rigorous examination. Brazil are away to Peru, the one conflict within the opening rounds between groups who had been each on the final World Cup. And of all of the groups who performed away from dwelling within the opening spherical, Peru had been the one one to keep away from defeat. It appears just like the one to observe.

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