In the end, the defensive game failed the traditionally offense-minded Brazilians. I remember Dunga, their rugged fullback from the ’90s, the World Cup held in the US in 1994. No wonder he employs a defensive strategy, that’s what he played, that’s what he knows. Pity Felipe Melo who scored an own goal and then got himself red-carded so his colleagues ended up a man down. Or perhaps no pity. Soccer is a cruel master.
I didn’t see any of the game itself but the Costa Rican food service guys in the corporate cafeteria watched it in the back kitchen. Two mistakes, they told me, that’s all it took for Brazil to fall.
I did see much of the second half of the Uruguay/Ghana match, an ugly affair. The Ghanans seemed to have heart but little else – their effort was a clunky one, mistake-prone, inelegant, and ultimately futile. Uruguay showed little more flare, their chiseled featured striker Forlon the exception. He wouldn’t appear out of place in an ad shoot for Big Sky country – or International Male, for that matter, give him some leather chaps and a soccer thong and you’d have an eye-popper. But over all both squads displayed nothing remotely resembling finesse and though I didn’t see the penalty shots it didn’t surprise me to hear that Ghana had failed to convert two kicks. They were a lumbering, raw, wild team and now they’re done. And Uruguay, inexplicably, is on to the semi finals.