Sunday, April 09, 2006

"Are they all what they're cracked up to be?"

I was gonna write on the Indian restaurant I ate at today in Porto Alegre but this is a bit more timely.,,1750190,00.html

Best parts:

"[Parreira's] scouting trips to Europe this season have revealed a multitude of worries. From his expected starting line-up in Germany, there is only one player whose excellence is beyond debate - the peerless Ronaldinho. As for the rest, the form guide is littered with inconsistency, injury, complacency and some downright awful displays."

""[...] as Tostao, the 1970 World Cup striker pointed out: 'There isn't a convincing substitute for Roberto Carlos.' Serginho, who has been playing that position with more defensive acumen for Milan, is 34, and Parreira is conscious his squad is already old enough."

"Defence is obviously Brazil's problem area, so it was a blow for Parreira to see midfield shield Emerson made to look geriatric by Arsenal."

"The general view among Brazilians is that the players are saving themselves for the World Cup. But, just because it worked last time around - when Brazil were so listless in the build-up to World Cup 2002 they almost failed to qualify, and we all know what happened next - does not mean they can turn it on again when it matters. Parreira can content himself, though, that Cafu has played only 14 matches for Milan this season, Ronaldo 24 for Real Madrid."

"Parreira will not tinker with his favoured formula. Brazil's manager is a conservative sort, loyal to his favourites. How else to explain that Juninho's polished performances for Lyon are not convincing enough for a first-team run? Or that his outstanding team-mate at Lyon, Cris, has not nailed a spot in defence?"

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