The tactical philosophy of the most successful football nation on earth has captured the hearts and minds of football fans all over the world for generations. Brazil’s breathtaking attacking flair has won them 5 World Cups making it not just beautiful football but also effective and can be perfectly described by the term ‘Joga Bonito’ meaning ‘play beautifully’ in Portuguese and that is exactly what we are going to do.
The system is based on individual flair, emphasis on attack and vibrant possession football.
Some of you will remember my first Brazilian Adventure back in 2006 on Samba Futebol which was so much fun I decided to have another go.
FormationWidely regarded as the greatest team of all time, the legendary Brazil side of the 1970 World Cup lined up in a 4-2-4 formation. Brazilian sides have also been known to line up in variants of the 5-3-2 formation.
When I looked at Brazilian football back in 2006 I opted for a variant of the 5-3-2 formation creating a 2-3-2-1-2.
This time around I will be looking at a variant of the 4-2-4 formation.
Brazilian football is based very much on possession. Brazilian footballers typically have a far superior level of technical skill in comparison with their European counterparts. Additionally this formation is fantastic for establishing and maintaining a high level of possession due to the passing options.
It has always been argued that triangles in a formation create passing options making it easier to retain possession however you will notice that this formation creates two boxes: an attacking box and a defensive box. This means that when any given player in that ‘box’ has the ball he always has at least 3 passing options near by plus the wingbacks bombing up the flanks as oppose to the 2 passing options created by a triangle.
GOLEIRO – Sweeper Keeper
The goalkeeper has traditionally been the Achilles’ heel of great Brazilian sides. However in Julio Cesar they have a world class keeper. Brazilian goalkeepers act as a sweeper keepers moving quickly off their line should anything get through the defence.
ZAGUEIROS – Ball Playing Defender (cover)
Brazilian centre backs are known as zagueiros and they act as dual sweepers sweeping up anything that makes it through the packed midfield. They tend to be very quick for centre backs and be very good on the ball. Look out for pace, tackling, marking, areal ability and mental attributes.
LATERAL ESQUERDO/DIRECTO – Wingback (attack)
The attacking wing back is one of the most exciting characteristics of the Brazilian system and one of the more important components of the formation. European sides will traditionally play two players on each flank whereas Brazilian sides prefer to play just one, freeing up two more players to play in the centre. Blessed with the overwhelming talent of Maicon, Alves, Maxwell and Marcelo they provide all the width for the team and take on both attacking and defensive roles. Look out for strength; my experience with Vasco was that strong wingbacks are absolutely lethal.
VOLANTE – Anchorman (defend)
Volante is the Brazilian term for the holding midfielder – the Michael Essien, Daniel De Rossi or Claude Makelele of the European game. In truth there is not much difference between the Brazilian volante and the European holding midfielder apart from the volante will move back to cover the zagueiros when they move to cover the wingbacks. Unlike the system I used in 2006 this system operates with dual volantes providing more stability and along with the zagueiros creating the defensive box.
NO. 10 – Inside Forward (attack)
Experimentation led me to conclude that the most effective way to organise my front four was two deeper inside forwards providing the link between midfield and attack and two advanced forwards reeking havoc for the opposition defence. The inside forwards act as traditional Brazilian No. 10s with Kaka and Diego combining to create a creative and lethal force. These are the most technically gifted players on the team. Their primary function is to create goal scoring chances for themselves and those around them.
AVANTE – Advanced Forward (attack)
Pele, Romario and Ronaldo are all perfect examples of the devastating effect of the Brazilian avante. Combining with the two attacking midfielders they create the devastating attacking box. It seems that no defence in the world can deal with the likes of Kaka, Diego, Robinho, Luis Fabiano or Pato attacking their defence with at least three passing options and combining with the wingbacks giving them 4 targets in the box was also particularly lethal. Occasionally pushing them into the FR/L position would completely baffle centre backs dragging them out of position is they either move wide or forward to the inside forwards.
Team Instructions and PhilosophyI like to start the game at a thunderous pace, literally all-out-attack. Catch the opposition off guard and grab and early goal. Once I have taken the lead switch to the counter-attacking system encouraging the opposition to attack but leaving the front four forward eventually catching them on the counter and grabbing a second. Then moving into the attacking system to control the game, pass the ball around a bit and go for the kill.
ShoutsBrazilian football is based largely on possession and movement so I use these shouts.
Maintain possession – Possession is nine tenths of the law. Brazilian sides dominate possession. You should be looking at 60+% possession and 70+% pass completion.
Pass into space – Particularly with the front 4 movement is vital as the opposition cannot keep tabs on the attacking players.
Exploit the Flanks – The wingbacks have 4 options in the box to aim crosses at so exploit this. Also in international football lots of sides play narrow formations. You might only have one player on each flank but they are world class and have 4 passing options inside so shouldn’t lose the ball.
Results: FIFA World Cup 2010Who better to test a Brazilian tactic with than Brazil themselves?!
Here are some video highlights of the goals I scored in the early part of the tournament. There’s so many, the song finished before I could cram them all in! So, in next week’s Debate Download article, I’ll show you the final knock out matches.