Sometimes they also tend to lose. Highly fancied Argentina led by Riquelme and Messi yesterday went down 3-0 to Brasil’s second string of players. Baptista (the Beast) scored a wondergoal early in the first half (4th minute). After playing an almost perfect defensive (marking & pressing) game and being penetrated twice by Riquelme (the post and Doni stopping the ball), Brasil doubled their score with a perfect counter-attack culminating in a cross by sub (of sub) Dany Alves that was slotted in by helpless Argentina captain Ayala. Argentina were unable to string together proper passes as an asphyxiating pressing game by Brasil’s interdicting midfield and military defence proved unbreakable. It was Brasil who added to their bounty with a majestic counter-attack involving Love and Alvez with the former producing a picture perfect through pass for Alvez to slot home with a first time shot that displaced the unhappy Abbondanzieri.
The verdeoro rule South America again, confirming their headship after having snatched the cup from the albiceleste two years ago after a dragged penalty shoot out. Dunga has, unfortunately, been proven right. Brasil played without the magic of Ronaldinho, of Ronaldo and of Kaka’. Not even Juninho Pernambucano was in the line up that was simply constructed to survive by playing the atypical style of disciplined defence and surgical finishing. It was a great gamble to take, particularly since on days when the talented Robinho faded away it would be up to the unpredictable Baptista or the colourful Wagner Love to finish off the attack. Yet it worked. The Gods of Argentina expected to run away with the cup against Brasil’s second line up. Basile was sure that his stylish team would have no difficulty sweeping its opposition aside.
What matters at the end is the result. That unfortunately is the new rule in football. And that is also what makes Brasil this year’s champions of South America.