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Onalfo: Scouting Brazil

U.S. Men's National Team assistant coach took a moment prior to today's match to share his scouting report of Brazil. Here is what he had to say:

Unquestionably, Brazil are a team of world class players.  World Cup veterans Ronaldinho, Emerson, Lucio, Dida are joined by some of their best young domestic players who are highly motivated to show head coach Carlos Alberto Parreira that they should be part of his long-term plans for winning their sixth World Cup crown in Germany 2006.  This game has added importance because of the fact that in his first four games since resuming control of the 'Selecao', Parreira has a disappointing record of one win, two draws and a loss.  In their eyes, this game is a must win, both in terms of advancing in this tournament and the perception of their team back home.

Traditionally they play out of a 4-2-2-2 system, but against Cameroon they played a 4-3-3, pushing Ronaldinho from his atttacking midfield position to an all-out forward.  Regardless of their formation, Brazil are extremely good at getting their outside fullbacks, Belletti and Kleber, forward, which enables them at times to attack with six or seven players.  This puts an enormous amount of pressure on our team defensively; however, their aggressive approach makes them susceptible to the counterattack, which is something we have done well over the last two years.  They have a world-class goalkeeper in Dida, who at 6'4" is a commanding presence in the box, in addition to being an outstanding shotstopper.

We expect Brazil to try to put us under an enormous amount of pressure in the first part of the game, which we believe is good for our game plan.  We will need to be ready as a unit for this initial pressure, playing very organized defensively and looking for opportunities to get at them. As the game wears on, fitness may become a factor; again, we think this area favors us.

We are excited about the chance to play against such a talented and respected opponent.  Who doesn't get excited about playing Brazil?  Our mentality as a group is to improve from our sub-par performance against Turkey, and to see how the team responds after a difficult opening match.  We think that with the right approach, we can put ourselves in a position to win tonight.  We came here with the mindset of advancing out of our group, and we're certainly capable of accomplishing that goal.