With typical mambo sway Brazil recovered from two down to lift the Confederations Cup, a trophy of mixed significance—though judging by Lucio’s reaction, it meant a great deal, at least to some.
Their marauding brilliance was just enough of a makeweight for their sometimes sketchy defending and though a successful campaign, Carlos Dunga will still have just as many questions as he does answers.
Focusing on the good, it is clear that Brazil are at their best when their golden boy Ricardo Kaka is at his. When allowed to roam and be at the heart of the Brazilian offensive, he remained throughout the tournament a potent threat, individually and as part of the collective team effort.
On the other hand, although many may not agree, Robinho, despite his multitude of touches, remains unnecessary icing on an already sweet cake. If the pitch is a canvas, then it can only accommodate so many artists, and certainly not those that produce costly pieces, of little end value.
If I was Alexandre Pato, I would certainly be wondering why I wasn’t being asked to limber up just after half-time more often.
Back to the good, Maicon and Lucio underlined why they remain among the best players in the world at what they do. Lucio, among Europe’s most bruising centre-backs (alongside Vidic, Terry, and Puyol) is probably more skillful than the other three put together, and showed plenty of drive and forward play from the heart of the back line.
Meanwhile Maicon, lovers of Alves and Ramos aside, has to now be considered the best right-back, maybe even full-back in the game, and the closest Brazil have come to replacing the legendary Cafu.
Overall Brazil look dangerous. Combined with the expected emergence of Anderson and Pato, and maybe even a return for renegades Ronaldinho and Adriano, Dunga's men will certainly be in the running to lift yet another World Cup come South Africa.
As always, regardless of nationality, they remain many people’s first team and just about everyone else’s second.