the samba boyos


Wales  0   Brazil  2   (Half-time score : 0-0)

International Friendly
Venue : -  White Hart Lane
Tuesday 5th September 2006
Kick Off :  7.45 p.m.
Crowd :   22,008
Referee :  Mike Riley (Leeds)
Weather :  -  Warm, humid
Teams : - 
Wales :


Duffy (Edwards 64)
Bale (Ricketts 46)

Robinson (Fletcher 53)
Davies (Vaughan 68)
Giggs (c) (Ledley 46)

Earnshaw (Cotterill 77)

Unused subs: 



Brazil :


Maicon (Cicinho 59)
Marcelo (Gilberto 74)

Edmilson (c) (Gilberto Silva 46)
Kaka (Elano 72)
Ronaldinho (Robinho 67)

Vagner Love
Julio Baptista (Rafael Sobis 78)

Unused subs: 
Daniel Carvalho

Colours : -  

Scorers : -  



Marcelo 61
Vagner Love 74

Cards : -  






Match Report : -  

Walking around the ground, it was a vivid palate of colour, as the yellow of Brazil clashed with the red Welsh shirts and the bevy of Brazilian beauties paraded in their customised shirts.  The game failed to live up to the prelude outside White Hart Lane, but it was an interesting clash of styles, in which the South Americans came out 2-0 winners with a subdued performance.

While I had encountered some of the beautiful fans of the game in the streets of Tottenham, once inside, in a seat at the back of the West Stand for a change, I was not so impressed.  Having thought I might be placed among the vibrant Brazilian fans, I found myself sitting next to three unattractive (and faintly smelly) Welshmen who considered it the height of humour to shout out "Ronald who ?" every ten minutes. 

Luckily, there were enough Brazilian fans around to make it entertaining, but it was the East Stand lower where the centre section had been claimed as a part of Rio for the night.  Samba drums, banners, flags and a whole classificação of Brazilian club shirts.  The drums echoed around a 2/3 full ground and people were still coming in near half-time, as the queue to pick up tickets had been huge just ten minutes before kick off.  One visitor was decidedly unimpressed, as I walked alongside him up the Paxton towards the High Road, he expounded his lack of warmth for the club (in no uncertain terms) as he joined the end of the queue to pick up his tickets from the windows in that road ... outside the fish and chip shop in the High Road.

Inside, we were informed that the kick off had been delayed for fifteen minutes to allow as many of those queuing outside to get in.  While normally this would bring groans, the Brazil fans continued their party and the neutrals were left to enjoy the sight of the Brazil squad warming up.  Not so easy on the eye was the Welsh warm-up, where a shooting drill ended with the goalkeeper having a decidedly quiet time.

Once the game started, it was Wales who set the early pace.  They also let Brazil know they were there and the highly regarded SCBC defender Gareth Bale went through Maicon in the first couple of minutes.  Brazil looked comfortable in possession, but Wales took the visitors by surprise with the speed of their counter attacks.  One such break saw the ball played through to Giggs centrally and his Brazilian piece of skill saw him back-heel the ball into Earnshaw's path and his shot was beaten aside by Gomes' rush from his line.  It was a good opening and one which could have altered the outcome of the match.  Despite the red shirts setting the pace, it was the yellow ones that had the better openings.  Cearense went close with a near-post header that just cleared the bar just two minutes in and shortly after goalkeeper Paul Jones had to make a close range block to stop Alex's shot.

With Ronaldinho joining the list of great players I have seen at the Lane ... Maradona, Cruyff, Ardiles, Hoddle, Greaves, Paul Mahorn ... he had a match where he was content to play within himself, leaving the Welsh unable to get at him.  The skillful midfielder failed to show off too many of his tricks, but he kept the ball moving towards the Wales goal and even though he misplaced a few passes (just to show he was human), his touch was true and his vision superb.

With Edmilson bringing the ball out of defence to join the attack, you could see why the Brazilian team are so hard to play against.  In fact, it was the captain who might have opened the scoring in the fourth minute, when a Ronaldinho corner fell to Alex and Jones blocked his shot, but when the rebound came to Edmilson, he slammed his shot over the crossbar.  The superstar's corners caused Wales all sorts of problems, as they were struck with pace and he manages to get them to dip just as they reach the six-yard box.  Kaka headed another wide, when he would have scored had he hit the target, while Luisao also went close.  The big, bald Luisao had a fine game and looked solid for a Brazilian defender.

Julio Baptista lived up to his nickname of "the Beast" with his strength his obvious asset, but I hope he replicates his display when he returns in an Arsenal shirt, as he looked as though he couldn't hit a barn door with his shooting.  His new team-mate Gilberto got warmly booed when the camera fell on him when he was about to make his second half entrance straight after the interval.  Kaka also manufactured a volley for himself and smacked the ball low, but Jones got down to it to keep the ball out.

The interval saw a continuation of the entertainment, with Spurs freestyler Billy Wingrove came out to show off his ball-juggling skills.  So impressive was his display that he stopped the Brazilian subs in their own ball-juggling keepy-uppy warm-up tracks, to watch him in action.  Keeping two balls in the air at once, the Brazilian boys decided to put his skills to the test by introducing a third ball that they kicked to him !!  Ever willing to have a go, he took on the challenge and kept all three up for a short while.  The applause and winks from the boys in the yellow and blue showed their respect for his ability.

At the start of the second half a long ball was played up the right wing and Alex seemed to elbow Joe Ledley in the head.  The Cardiff City defender needed lengthy treatment, but was able to continue and all Mike Riley did was have a word with the Brazil centre half.

Baptista had fired in a shot that Jones blocked out and Brazil had a goal disallowed right before the half-time whistle, when Wagner Love shot past Jones, but he was standing clearly in an offside position when he received the ball.

Bellamy used his pace to test the Brazilian defenders, but their long legs caught up with him, with a good chance to put Wales on the score-sheet when he was alert to Alex's short back pass and he was unlucky to see Gomes extend a leg to keep the ball out.  He had another effort, set up by Simon Davies that flew too high, in what was one of the better contributions the ex-Spurs man made.  His passing was poor and he looked a shadow of the player he was at Tottenham.

It took an hour for Brazil to finally net their goal.  When Kaka played the ball square into the path of Junior Marcelo, there looked little trouble, but when he did not break his run, he struck the ball left-footed in the style of Roberto Carlos to produce a shot that bounced before Jones and beat him in off the post.  The debutant was clearly pleased, as were his team-mates, who swamped him.

This was a signal for the South Americans to step up the pace.  Ronaldinho finally showed what he is capable of with a free-kick that brought a dive from the Welsh keeper and when he ran and found space on the edge of the area, he produced a curling shot that flew a couple of feet past Jones left hand post.  It turned out to be his last action in the match, as he was replaced by Robinho.

The little striker was instrumental in the second goal, as he held off a challenge to play the ball wide to Cicinho, who crossed for Wagner Love to steal in front of Collins and glance a close range header past Paul Jones to make it 2-0 on 74 minutes.  Junior Marcelo almost repeated his goal-scoring shot, but Jones this time managed to get a hand to it and pushed the ball wide.

To their credit, the much rearranged Welsh side still tried to get something out fo the game and Craig Bellamy pulled the ball back from the left wing to substitute Sam Ricketts, but his finishing matched that shown in the pre-match warm-up, with an effort that went a long way wide.  He tried another go at goal, but Gomes knocked out his shot to keep a clean sheet.

It was an interesting experiment and the price of tickets perhaps prevented it being a bigger crowd.  You can understand a sell-out for Brazil v Argentina, but with Wales not having quite the same allure, a downgrading in ticket price might have attracted more spectators.

But the Lane will seem a different place when Fulham come to visit.  The Brazilian drummers made the Spurs man seem ploddingly pedestrian in comparison and the colour made the event vibrant.  But then, when a full stadium gets going during a Premiership match, it matches the atmosphere in a different way.

It was funny realising just why Brazil look so good.  It is because they do the simple things very well.  Their game is based around the ability to keep the ball and to keep it out of the reach of their opponents.  They do it with a certain panache, but if you analyse what they do well, they pass and move.  Or, as it used to be called at White Hart Lane "push and run."

Marco van Hip



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