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Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Brazil Spoil Korea-best Performance

People say England’s Brave John Terry (EBJT) is patriotic. For me though, patriotism in its purest form is bawling your eyes out during the national anthem. EBJT only cries when he loses, not before the game has even begun. But while tears preceded the Brazil v North Korea match, it was a smile that ended it. Finally, the World Cup became fun. Ever since the impossibly named Siphiwe Tshabalala’s beautiful strike in the opening game – despite a convincing German victory against the Aussies – the tournament has yet to lift off. But last night, the World Cup threw up a seeming mismatch that only the World Cup can. That it finished just 2-1 to the Brazilians should not result in denigration for the samba boys but high praise for the North Koreans. Most of us were wholly ignorant of them going into the tie and few will have greeted Ji Yun-nam’s composed finish with anything other than a massive grin.

Brazil did not thrash the North Koreans, so they must have been shit? Wrong. Kim Jong-Hun had his team militaristically organised. They were obdurate in the extreme, providing tireless running and throwing themselves into tackles and blocks. As far as bus parking goes, this was Mourinhoesque, with at least seven men behind the ball for the duration. But at the same time, as evidenced by their late goal, the Koreans were also dangerous on the counter. Rather than treading water, Brazil were made to work very hard for victory and should be happy with the result rather than despondent. They kept the ball moving across the pitch with panache and their ball retention was fantastic.

Criticism of Dunga’s style baffles me because 1970 and 1982 aside, when have Brazil ever played this ‘beach football’ for which they are so famous for 90 minutes? Four years ago, the defence was shielded by Emerson and Ze Roberto. Previous to that it was Edmilson and Gilberto Silva in Japan. And before then Dunga himself partnered first Mauro Silva in ‘94 and then Cesar Sampaio in ’98. Joga bonito has always come in glimpses as it did last night with a flurry of tricks from the boots of Robinho. Three lovely goals from open play were also welcomed, Maicon’s sublime finish being the pick of the bunch and the goal of the World Cup so far (yes I think he meant it). Oh and how good was it to see a side line up with a sweeper? North Korea might just be my favourite side right now.

Team ITV would have had you believe it was going to be double figures before the match started. I’m starting to get really pissed off with this laziness on behalf of the so-called pundits who are trotting out the same tired crap every game. Which is why I have decided to set up the League Against Unnecessary Gargantuan Hubris (aka LAUGH). If you would like to join me, simply chuck an apple or onion – doesn’t really matter which – at Adrian Child, Clive Titsley or Andy Bellend (yes, I am childish) every time they make an obnoxious or patronising comment about a side they know nothing about. Expect more of the same when the ‘plucky’ Hondurans take the field against Chile today. Last night’s game was a breath of fresh air. More of the same please. Adam Bushby

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