Brazil 1 Croatia 0

Brazil won their first match in the World Cup with a facile 1-0 win over Croatia. However, it was far from convincing win for the title holders and favorites for this year. Dida, their goalkeeper, was their best performer and that says a lot about the game ! For much of the 1st half, the Brazilians were kept at bay by the Croatians untill Kaka struck in the dying minutes of the first half. It was a rasping left footer which swung in like a banana in the left corner of the goal.

There were a couple of close chances that Brazil could not capitalize on – Adriano missed a couple of easy ones, Ronaldinho missed a sitter header. In spite of this performance, Brazil must take heart from the fact that this was just the opening match and so, they can only get better from here. Some of the key things that they need to address:

  1. Figure out what is wrong with Ronaldo – throughout the match, he hardly looked the player who has scored 12 goals in the World Cup. Finally, he was replaced by Robinho in the 2nd half, which brought more flexibility to the forward line
  2. Improve the conversion rates of goals – Brazil, by their own standards, did not convert many chances – Roberto Carlos, Ronaldinho, Adriano all got their fair share of chances but none succeeded to convert
  3. Play more balls to Kaka – one of the standout players today was Kaka – his shot selection and his control on the ball were exemplary. I am sure in the next matches, he will be more closely guarded but then he has this ability to shoot from a long distance and that can only help Brazil
  4. Ronaldinho needs to strike his best form – he was good today but far from his best. He is the gamemaker in the side and for Brazil to lift this World Cup for the 6th time, it is important that he strike form.

So, a lot of things for coach Carlos Alberto Parreira to ponder about before their next encounter.



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