Brazil faced its final test against Tanzania before its World Cup opener against North Korea. Tanzania, coached by Brazilian Marcio Maximo, fielded an adventurous 4-3-3 formation against Brazil.
The game was played in 80 degree weather and despite the fact that Tanzania had just played a game against Rwanda the day before, the team came out running against the Brazilians. Tanzania had the best shot early in the game, in which Bastos was caught out of position. Gomes made an easy save.
Minutes later, against the run of play, Robinho, just outside the area, fielded a long ball from Gilberto Silva with his arm while trying to chest the ball. The linesman had raised the flag but then put it back down. Play continued with no whistle and Brazli maintained possession. Several passes later and Robinho scored the opener to protests from the Tanzanian team who were calling for a handball.
In the 33rd minute, Brazil pressed some more and Elano held the ball and passed to Bastos, who then executed a perfect cross to Robinho, who headed it into the net. 2-0.
Late in the first half, Kaka finally showed us what he was capable of. In one of his trademark runs, he blazed by a Tanzanian defender and passed to Fabiano right outside the area. Fabiano dribbled once and in an excellent opportunity, shot right at the keeper.
Ngassa was Tanzania’s best player in the first half. He forced a nice save from Gomes in a shot from just outside the area. Gomes, in fact, made several saves in the first half, but none really troubled the Spurs keeper.
Brazil’s worst player of the first half was Felipe Melo, who was not clicking on many of his passes. Going into the World Cup, this is Brazil’s most pressing issue. Because of the lack of movement through the middle, Fabiano has hardly touched the ball.
Dunga made 4 substititions at the half -- Luisao for Lucio, Gilberto for Bastos, Josue for Gilberto Silva, and Ramires for Felipe Melo. With the change, Brazil gained more movement with both Josue and Ramires providing more speed in the defensive midfield sector, which has been a problem for Brazil in recent training sessions and in the Zimbabwe friendly.
8 minutes into the second half, Josue made a nice pass to Ramires, who turned on the afterburners. Following his run, he blasted the ball into the net, scoring his first goal international goal.
In the 15th minute, Dunga experimented yet again – Daniel Alves coming on for Elano. While Alves is a natural right back, Dunga has been using him more and more in the midfield.
This formation with Alves, Ramires, and Maicon on the pitch at the same time was used with great success when Brazil needed results in the Confederations Cup – late in the game against South Africa and when Brazil was down to the United States in the final.
Tanzania hardly threatened in the 2nd half. Their first opportunity came in the 20th minute of the second half, forcing Gomes to make a nice save from close range.
With 15 minutes remaining, Maicon executed a tough cross right from the goal line – it went right by the Tanzanian’s keeper’s finger tips and Kaka chested the ball right into the net.
Following the goal, Dunga switched out Fabiano, who had a very quiet game, for Nilmar. The move brought even more speed to the team, but Nilmar ended up having a quiet time on the pitch.
Late in the game, Tanzania finally broke the wall that Gomes had put up. Off a corner, Aziz headed it in to the delight of the home crowd.
In injury time though, Brazil got a goal back – Alves made a nice cross into the area, to Ramires, who headed it in for his second goal. The game ended 5-1.
Man of the Match - Robinho - He looks set to break out in the World Cup. 3 goals in the two friendlies. He was excellent with the ball and in the first half, was the only offensive player for Brazil who threatened. Right now, he looks like the better bet for Golden Boot for Brazil -- not Fabiano.
Gomes - 7.5 -- Very solid in goal. Started in favor of the recovering Julio Cesar (who will be ready for the opener). Was forced to make some nice saves in the first half. The goal that Tanzania scored was not his fault.
Maicon - 7 -- Solid defensively and assisted on the goal to Kaka. Didn't really attack too much.
Lucio - 6.5 -- We didn't hear much from Lucio, which is probably a good thing. The defensive gaffes which were present in the Zimbabwe game were eradicated in today's games.
Luisao - 6.5 -- He came on in the second half for Lucio. Solid defensively.
Juan - 6.5 -- The Brazil defense was busy, but his fitness problems were resolved as he played the full 90 minutes. With Gilberto Silva and Lucio substituted, he wore the captain's armband.
Michel Bastos - 6 -- He played 45 minutes and was relatively quiet. He was poor defensively and one play in particular led to an early scare. But he did get an assist on the second goal.
Gilberto - 6 -- A quiet 2nd half. He came on for Bastos. Brazil didn't really attack through him on the left. Most of the plays on that side would come from Ramires.
Gilberto Silva - 6 -- A quiet game. He passed to Robinho on the first goal. But like Felipe Melo, his presence on the pitch provides more defensive security, but the team slows down a lot.
Josue - 6 -- He came on at the half for Gilberto Silva and like the introductions of Ramires and Alves, brought some more movement to the Brazilian team. He gave the pass on Ramires' first goal.
Felipe Melo - 4.5 -- The worst player for Brazil. He was not connecting on his passes and the team was really slow with him on the pitch. He will likely start against North Korea, but his spot in the starting 11 is threatened.
Ramires - 8 -- Ramires was the catalyst for a very different Brazil team in the second half. He made up for Kaka's immobility. He scored his first 2 goals for Brazil. We may very well see him start alongside Kaka and Elano against Ivory Coast.
Elano - 5.5 -- Could not keep up his performance from the last game. He was substituted midway through the second half for Daniel Alves.
Daniel Alves - 7 -- Changed the look of the team when he came on for Elano. The team was faster. He assisted on the late goal to Ramires.
Kaka - 7 -- Kaka is getting there slowly. His speed still isnt there, but his passing is slowly improving. He only made one of his trademark runs. He finally got a goal when he chested in a ball from a Maicon cross.
Luis Fabiano - 5 -- Once again, he hardly touched the ball. He had one good chance, on a Kaka through ball, but he hit it right at the keeper. He was eventually substitued midway in the 2nd half for Nimlar
Robinho - 8.5 -- Man of the match. Watch out for him.
Nilmar - 5.5 -- Not enough time to really do anything. Would have been nice to see him play more up front with Robinho.
Overall, Brazil played pretty well. There are still some defensive issues, but this was largely attributed to Brazil's constant pressure.
We also saw two very different Brazil teams. The first half featured a more defensive-oriented and slower team with Melo and Gilberto Silva on the pitch. Brazil looked excellent in the second half with the changes. While Dunga will likely keep his traditional defensive-minded midfield, if anything is going wrong, we will see Ramires and Alves come on as subs. Ramires in particular looks to be inching his way into the starting 11 at the expense of Melo.