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Brazil gives lessons to Spain

Sunday, 30 June 2013, will certainly go down in history as Brazil’s re-invention.

This was a day where Brazil displayed an irreproachable performance against the reigning world champions Spain. It was a magic display, showing a new attitude and behavior we are not used to seeing from a Brazilian side.

They performed perfectly, technically and tactically, attacking and defending with efficiency. Brazilians are known to be sound technically and poor in tactics and organisation on the field but they have shown a new culture of play, with audacity, composure and style.

I was there in the jam-packed Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, with more than 79 000 spectators, cheering and chanting ole, ole, ole for their national team. One thing was clear, despite the natural talent of the opponents, we saw the teacher showing the student how to play.

Neymar confirmed to the soccer world that he is the one to watch and admire from now on when he lines up alongside Lionel Messi in the Barcelona squad. He was no doubt the man of the finals and was naturally selected as the best player of the championship. He has skills, is fast and dynamic and always shows a first class game, with fine runs, dribbles and magic passes. He was crowned the best player in Latin America and, if he progresses in Spain, as we all expect him to do, he could quickly become the best player in the world after Messi.

Both Brazil strikers, Fred and Neymar, combined scored nine of the 14 goals for Brazil. What an accomplishment.

One aspect worthy of mention was the spirit shown by the Spanish players, who conceded defeat and congratulated the Brazilian victors. I loved it. They were true sportsmen with sporting spirit.

The whole Brazil team was great but Paulinho and Luis Gustavo are world-class players and important for Brazil in their new style of play. They oppress the opponent in their own half, most of the time. Daniel Alves was effective and objective, while David Luiz and Thiago Silva are proven modern defenders and are classic and rugged when they need to be. The real Madrid left wing-back Marcelo always supports and serves his up front players. The highly motivated goalkeeper, Julio Cesar, sorts out difficult situations when called on and Hulk and Oscar also play important roles.

The entire Brazilian team was at its best collectively and individually. However, the secret of their success was their head coach, Luis Felipe Scolari, a renowned leader and great motivator. A few months ago most Brazilians felt very uncomfortable and in doubt regarding their chances under Coach Mano Menezes. Their self-esteem has been renewed.

In recent months here in Brazil many clubs have adopted the national team’s style of play. If this trend continues, the world will see them on top of the beautiful and magnificent game again.

With all due respect to other nations, they know best how to play this game. They love this game, breath this game and do everything around this game. Football is just a Brazilian life style.

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