The Brazilians haven’t looked as explosive and attacking-minded from what we saw from the Selecao last summer in the Confederation’s Cup. Their first two games were a good indicator of where some of the Brazilian players are at and what needs to be done with this squad if they hope on beating a depleted Cameroon side to reach the Round of 16. Neymar and Oscar need to lead the Brazilian offense, if they have any hope on surviving in the World Cup. Along with that, here are three things that Scolari’s side need to focus on in order to beat Cameroon.
Brazil Must Change The Starting Eleven
They have stuck with the exact same formation and starters as last summer, but it doesn’t seem to be working anymore. It’s hard to figure out if Oscar is in the middle of the park or is being used as a winger, which I think he is too small to be out there. He thrives in that center attacking mid role where he can find through balls into the wingers and play off of the center forward.
It seems as though Fred’s injury has made him older and slower and for some reason he can’t stay on sides to even get a decent look at goal. Scolari has some kind of love towards Fred, but he needs to realize that number 9 isn’t helping out the team in any positive way as of right now and that the starting eleven could be tweaked just a tad.
If Hulk is truly healthy and ready for a comeback I don’t see any issue putting him up top. I did not like seeing him on the left side of the field primarily because it seemed as though he was out of place out there and would probably be more of a threat on the right and even as the target. After watching their two group games I think that Brazil need to figure out a way to start Hulk, Neymar and Bernard as their forwards, because they have shown the best skill so far. Bernard entered the pitch against Mexico and was immediately making moves up top towards goal and almost assisted Neymar on a header. If Hulk can’t play, then put Neymar as their target and have Willian start on the left side of the field.
Paulinho was the hero last summer in Brazil’s triumph over Uruguay in a 2-1 victory in the Confederation’s Cup semifinals. We haven’t seen that same Paulinho in the 2014 World Cup and Scolari should have recognized that by now and is hopefully looking for other options. He has Fernandinho anxiously waiting on the bench. He is a player who has the capability to run box-to-box and is an exceptionally good defender in the middle of the pitch. He’s faster than Paulinho and probably has better vision up top and is more a goal scorer threat. This is a man who started almost every game for the English Premier League champions; Scolari should be taking that into consideration. If not Fernandinho, then Scolari still has the likes of Ramires and Hernanes sitting on the bench, both looking like better options than Paulinho right now.
They Must Put Pressure On Cameroon
One could say that Brazil kind of dominated that first half against Mexico and probably should’ve headed into the locker room with a 1-0 lead. But the start of the second half Brazil got complacent and let the Mexicans get comfortable going forward and was dominated for 15 to 20 minutes in the second half. The Brazilian defenders look rattled at times and there wasn’t anything working in terms of passing the ball around and Mexico just kept forcing turnovers. Brazil needs to be the one putting pressure for the majority of the game, not just one half or for a few minutes here and there.
Cameroon are going to be without their best midfielder and arguably their best player in this last group stage match. The Selecao need to take advantage of that and really take it to the Cameroon defense, because they seem to get flustered very easily if pressure is applied. I’m hoping to see a lot of shots and a high sense of urgency to score some goals to further gain some confidence heading into the round of 16 match
Neymar Must Be The Star
He probably deserved to score a goal in the Mexico match and was truly Brazil’s best player on the field that game. We saw him trying to take over the game towards the end, but it’s tough when it’s only a one man show. He has the skill and flair to take over games, but it seems like there is way too much pressure on this 22 year-old kid to produce victories. Being the star doesn’t necessarily mean scoring all the goals and making everything happen. He just needs to be the Neymar that fans have grown to love, he needs to create chances, give the crowd something to cheer about and he has to be Brazil’s leader on their attacking half. This kid has the whole stadium on their feet every time he even touches the ball, because we never know what creative move he’s going to think of next. He stepped up to the plate last summer and hopefully we’ll see that same player coming up against Cameroon to start the movement into the knockout stage.