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SOCCER – The Philosophy of Brazilian Football

by: Kevin Keene
Do you like soccer? Do you play it regularly? Do you want to improve yourself? If yes, read on this article which will introduce you the philosophy of the legendary Brazilian football. Carlos Alberto Parreira, Brazil’s World Cup winning roach, said in an inter­view leading up to the Cup finals that for his team to do well it had to be “defensively organized, as fit or fitter than its opponents, and offensively express themselves in the ‘Brazilian way’”.What are the characteristics of modern Brazilian football? To play fast and secure with unpredictable and creative offensive attacking movement. How does the Brazilian approach differ from that of the English? The Dutch? The German? Let’s start by describing the individual Brazilian player and then his team play.

First, the individual Brazilian player is technically very sound, every player on the field plays comfortably with the ball at his feet. Additionally, he is creative by nature, and while tactically very astute, he also likes to do the simple things with flair. We’ve all learned to expect the unexpected in Brazil’s attacking area of the field.

The Brazilian player works hard and is physically trained in highly sci­entific, closely monitored methods. This high level of fitness enables him lo do the work necessary to supply positive numbers around the ball-both offensively and defensively. Combine fitness with this mix of individ­ual skill, creativity and tactical awareness and you create special players and remarkable teams.

Brazil’s team tactics further distinguish Brazilian play. Again Parreira said, “I didn’t have to leach our players how to play football, but I did have to help them develop as a unit. That is not easy for Brazilian players because they are till such individuals.”

First, the Brazilian approach is to keep the ball moving on the ground whenever possible, except when crossing, shooting or sometimes when exploiting an opening up front or changing the point of attack from one flank to the other with a single pass. The necessary touch is developed early by training barefoot, when a miss-kick or long ball physically hurts. Frequently, too, small rubber balls and futsal balls are used to develop better touch.

Next, the point of attack is constantly switched away from pressure through a series of short passes on the ground. Possession is insured by the proper positioning of supporting players. Brazil’s 4-4-2 scheme of play emphasizes diagonal support on both the attacking and defensive sides of the player in possession: the offensive center midfielder supporting both strikers; the defensive center midfielder supporting both outside midfielders; and one of the inside defenders supporting both out­side defenders and the other inside defender. We call these three positions the 911 of the team and they function similarly to point guards in basketball. They are always there in case of emergency and available to quick­ly switch the point of attack. We refer to this network of supporting play from diagonally positioned players as ‘triangulation’.

Finally, there is this sense of constant movement-constant player cir­culation-in the Brazilian game. A player from the back makes a pass, then runs into space to create further options or to support the play of others. At the same time, another player drops to cover the space just vacated. There is this constant circulation of players through Brazil’s scheme of play.

Interesting, isn’t it?

 About the Author
Kevin Keene is a contributing writer at Bodysports Paintball, writing reviews of paintball safety goggles. He also is a freelance writer contributing articles on tennis, tennis ball,and paintball feeders.