Tuesday night in a thrilling affair in London, Brazil and Italy faced each other in what Lippi tipped to be the derby of the world.
What the Italy tactician did not know, however, was what was in store. Brazil ran away worthy winners with a 2-0 score after 90 minutes of pulsating football, courtesy of Manchester City duo Elano and Robinho.
Prior to the game, both managers recieved some scrutiny for their conservative squad selections and projected lineup. Brazilian manger Dunga got it right this time, as his team produced some of the best footballing to grace the international stage in a long while.
Dunga chose an impressive lineup and his men did not let him down. Maicon, Lucio, Juan, and Marcelo formed the back four, while Ronaldinho, Felipe Melo, Gilberto Silva, and Elano started in midfield, with Adriano and Robinho up in front.
If the Brazilian tactician's team had been criticized in the past for anything, yesterday they did the exact reverse. Unlike the old robotic football they played under Dunga in the past last night, the team played with great flair and creativity, finding space on the pitch left and right, passing the ball well, and dominating midfield while staying organized and focused at the back.
Dunga must have felt like he was dreaming.
Lucio and Juan were the usual formidable rock at the back, Marcelo had something to prove and was outstanding, while Maicon was enjoying himself against Grosso at the back.
The Midfield's outstanding performance was the surprise for me. Elano, Gilberto Silva, and Felipe Melo hardly ever gave the azzurri a breather as they dominated midfield, held possession, and made Italy's defenders and midfielders cripple under pressure. The Jogo Bonito was back and it felt like a dream.
No. 10 Ronaldinho was in the best of form, making Italia's highly rated midfield trio at the start (Pirlo, Montolivo, De Rossi) look second-rate and inexperienced with his exquisite dribbling and eye-catching skills.
The Brazilian was in such good mood that he was the orchestrated the plays of both goals, as his side did all the damage in the first half alone. His flick-pass to Binho in the first half was one of great expertise.
In the 12th minute, another classic Brazil goal was born. Some good combinations from Melo, Ronaldinho, Robinho, and Elano led to the latter chipping eloquently against Buffon. Felipe passed to Ronnie who, with a long diagonal, pass found Elano, who back-heeled to Robinho and received a return on his way to finishing coolly over the iconic Italian goalkeeper.
That was only the start of it all, as the best was yet to come for fans of the cannarinha. Despite Adriano receiving most of the attention by donning the all-important No. 9, Robinho was the one to run away with all the headlines, as his moment of brilliance was the highlight of the night and is already a huge hit on YouTube.
Capitalising on a Pirlo blunder, the Brazilian recovered the ball, skipped away from the Italian midfielder, rushed into the box and victimized Legrottalie. He then beat three Italian defenders with some mucho bueno stepovers and cut back before finishing an expert move with a goal past Buffon. Robinho caused The Brazilian side to explode life in what should be remembered as one of Brazil's greatest games.
In the second half, Italy started to look lively as Guissepe Rossi debuted, but Brazil overall still held the ball much of the time, with Melo snuffing out Italy's attacking intentions and Ronaldinho toying around with the azzurri's new introductions (Perrota, Aquilani, Camoranesi).
Adriano, who was doing nothing significant, remained on the pitch, while most fans were raring to see the Pace of Pato do some further damage to Italy's backline. The boss chose to keep Pato on the bench till the 80th minute, but Pato had a decent run down the flank to showcase his talents anyway.
After all the scrutiny Dunga has received from us, a performance of this stature against world champion Italy must be the icing on the cake after the 6-2 thrashing of Portugal two months ago.
This, my friends, was the Brazil that Dunga was always trying to build, a team with a destructive offense that also is tactically organized and strong in defense. In these two last games, that team has been realized, and Brazil fans are just starting to awe in wonder at the coach's accomplishment.
His integration of class players who work hard for a common goal (Melo) is a trait to admire and respect. Brazil is on its way to becoming the best football team on the planet again; Italy fans, admit you got beat by a determined Brazilian side that was raring to prove a point to the world.