Vickery Column: Scolari's successful experiments leave him spoiled for choice

Brazil's 5-0 win over South Africa was Felipão's final chance to look at new options - Action Images
Last June and July, it all fell into place for Luiz Felipe Scolari. Starting with those friendly matches against England and France, continuing though the Confederations Cup, not only did he win the fans over and claim a trophy, he also ended the period with a firm idea of his first team.

Julio Cesar in goal.  A back four of Daniel Alves, Thiago Silva, David Luiz and Marcelo.  A central midfield duo of Luiz Gustavo, to hold, and Paulinho, to perform a mixed role.  A fluid line of three containing Hulk, Oscar and Neymar.  Fred at centre forward.

It was Scolari’s first team then, and it still remains so.  But that does not mean Brazil have been resting on their laurels.  Rather, Scolari has been using subsequent friendlies to add options and variations.  Let’s go through them;

Last September against Australia and Portugal there came the recall of Ramires, permitting a switch from 4-2-3-1 to a 4-3-3.  Maicon was successfully brought back as a reserve right back, and Maxwell introduced on the other flank as a less talented but steadier back up to Marcelo.  Plenty of centre backs have also been placed under the microscope; Dante was already part of the group, and Dede, Marquinhos and Henrique have all had a little chance to show what they can do.

In November William made a triumphant return to the squad, enthusing Scolari and presumably ending the hopes of the likes of Kaka and Philippe Coutinho.  And there was also the interesting experiment with Robinho; the injury to Fred had opened up a debate about Brazil’s lack of options at centre forward.  Scolari has always favoured a traditional target man figure.  But he was sufficiently wise and flexible to perceive that Brazil currently lack strength in depth in this position, and that it might be a good idea to investigate an alternative.  Robinho, then, as recalled and asked to play in the ‘false nine’ position.  Against Chile in Canada last November he came off the bench to head the winning goal.

And the experiments continued this week against South Africa.  Now Scolari does not only have one quality back up to Daniel Alves at right back.  As well as Maicon, he now also has Rafinha of Bayern Munich, who gave a competent display.  Presumably Maicon is still in pole position, but should age have taken its toll by the end of the season another satisfactory option has been tested.  Meanwhile, there might be no need after all to select a reserve left back.  Daniel Alves could perform the role – he was brought on early in the second half against South Africa to have a look at this very variation.  Should Scolari decide that, on the basis of this experiment, he can do without Maxwell, a place in the squad is opened up for an extra attacking player.

There is also the case of Fernandinho, though here things become a little more complicated.  The Manchester City midfielder scored a magnificent goal, struck from range with such sweetness that the South African keeper did not even move.

But Fernandinho had been brought in mainly to be given an opportunity in the holding role, sitting in front of the back four.  This is not his natural function – he is more of a lung buster, hence the fact that his club have been interested in his near namesake, Fernando of Porto.  Fernandinho did not look at all comfortable in the first half.  At the interval, though, Luiz Gustavo was brought on to play the holding role, freeing Fernandinho to play his more natural game, in the slot normally filled by Paulinho.

What conclusions can Scolari draw from this?  He is a big believer of the importance of the holding midfielder; the introduction of Luiz Gustavo last year was one of the most important pieces in his jigsaw.  It is also a position where a player is liable to pick up cards.  Brazil’s coach will surely think that he needs a specialist reserve – a place in the squad which, until his recent injury, was being filled by Lucas Leiva of Liverpool.  What might Scolari do, then?  Keep Lucas Leiva in his squad and instead view Fernandinho as a rival to Hernanes for the post of reserve to Paulinho?

There is plenty, then, for Luiz Felipe Scolari to think about in the two months before he names his Word Cup squad.  In fact, he has almost become a victim of his own success.  He has more options than can be included in a group of 23.

Read more:

> Neymar hat-trick helps Brazil to 5-0 win
> South Africa 0-5 Brazil: PLAYER RATINGS
 



Latest articles

Zenit forward Hulk praises team-mate Oleg Shatov's role in his goal against Benfica

Sampdoria forward Eder admits Palermo were interested in signing him this summer

Sampdoria forward Eder praises Head Coach Siniša Mihajlović

Roma defender Maicon refusing to get carried away despite emphatic CSKA Moscow victory

Dunga surprises with Dodo and Mario Fernandes

Vitinho of CSKA has been operated with success

Maxwell of PSG is thinking about retirement

Dunga set to announce squad for Argentina game

Luiz Gustavo is not moving to Arsenal

Hulk inspires Zenit St Petersburg to Champions League victory over Benfica

Dante: Bayern Munich boss Guardiola rarely speaks Spanish now

Paris Saint-Germain’s Lucas Moura: Zlatan Ibrahimović is crazy

Dante praises Bayern Munich’s Xabi Alonso but was surprised by move

Barcelona defender Piqué praises Neymar and Messi

Internacional midfielder Charles Aranguiz admits he is a "disorganised" player

Internacional legend Elías Figueroa hails fellow Chilean Charles Aranguiz

Flamengo forward Eduardo admits he feels "like a foreigner" in Brazil

Luiz Gustavo insists he is happy at VfL Wolfsburg

Latest News.

  • All
  • Seleção
  • Teams
  • Players
September 17, 2014
22:25Zenit forward Hulk praises team-mate Oleg Shatov's role in his goal against Benfica
22:16Sampdoria forward Eder admits Palermo were interested in signing him this summer
22:13Sampdoria forward Eder praises Head Coach Siniša Mihajlović
22:08Roma defender Maicon refusing to get carried away despite emphatic CSKA Moscow victory
16:18Dunga surprises with Dodo and Mario Fernandes
15:15Vitinho of CSKA has been operated with success
14:29Maxwell of PSG is thinking about retirement
14:12Fc Barcelona's Douglas might feature against Apoel
12:17Dunga set to announce squad for Argentina game
11:50Luiz Gustavo is not moving to Arsenal
10:00Hulk inspires Zenit St Petersburg to Champions League victory over Benfica
09:30Dante: Bayern Munich boss Guardiola rarely speaks Spanish now
08:30Paris Saint-Germain’s Lucas Moura: Zlatan Ibrahimović is crazy
08:30Dante praises Bayern Munich’s Xabi Alonso but was surprised by move
08:00Barcelona defender Piqué praises Neymar and Messi
September 16, 2014
23:27Internacional midfielder Charles Aranguiz admits he is a "disorganised" player
23:23Internacional legend Elías Figueroa hails fellow Chilean Charles Aranguiz
23:18Flamengo forward Eduardo admits he feels "like a foreigner" in Brazil
23:11Luiz Gustavo insists he is happy at VfL Wolfsburg
23:06Athletic Bilbao Head Coach Ernesto Valverde hails Shakhtar Donetsk midfielders Alex Teixeira and Douglas Costa
14:47Assis: "Ronaldinho wanted a new challenge"
11:53Alex Sandro returns to fitness
11:42Dunga is the right man according to Mauro Silva
11:31Gabigol signs new deal with Santos
08:30‘Scoring goals is scoring goals,’ admits Chelsea ace Diego Costa
08:00Chelsea’s Diego Costa: There will be a moment when I cannot score
07:45Mourinho admits Diego Costa is already a leader at Chelsea
07:30Coutinho backs Liverpool ace Sterling to shine for club and country
07:00Liverpool’s Coutinho: Sterling will be a star in Europe
September 15, 2014
20:06Ronaldo Defends Aranha
19:57Ronaldinho Settled in Mexico
19:49Diego Costa Could Face Punishment
19:30Marcelo Oliveira: São Paulo Deserved to Win
19:00Tite Surprised at Dunga Brazil Choice
18:38Milan give injury update on defender Alex
18:27Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho would be open to signing new deal
18:21Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho notes English sides were interested in Benfica star Talisca
18:11Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu expects Alex to quickly become key at Milan
14:00Mourinho praises Benfica's Talisca Anderson
13:54Quaretaro defends Ronaldinho against racist remarks
12:55Sao Paulo keeps title hopes alive with 2-0 win against Cruzeiro
12:46Corinthians warns its fans
September 14, 2014
09:59Athletic Bilbao Head Coach Ernesto Valverde hails Barcelona forward Neymar
09:54Ronaldinho motivated to succeed with Queretaro
09:50Ronaldinho insists he won't change his lifestyle at Queretaro
09:45Fluminense forward Fred insists World Cup disappointment is "in the past"
09:39Fluminense forward Fred insists jeering motivates him
September 13, 2014
22:33Flamengo forward Eduardo notes Brazilian football is growing in Croatia and Ukraine
22:26Flamengo forward Eduardo admits he thought the Brasileirão "would be easy"
22:20Real Madrid defender Pepe bemoans set-piece deficiencies
September 10, 2014
17:10Head Coach Dunga blames MetLife Stadium pitch for mixed Brazil performance in 1-0 win over Ecuador
September 09, 2014
18:35Alex Sandro eager for Brazil to move on from 7-1 defeat Germany
September 08, 2014
19:12Cruzeiro midfielder Everton Ribeiro praises Brazil Head Coach Dunga
18:57Brazil midfielder Everton Ribeiro pleased with Colombia win and hopes for further success against Ecuador
September 06, 2014
21:04Colombia Head Coach Jose Pekerman admits Juan Cuadrado red card was costly in friendly defeat to Brazil
August 29, 2014
22:27Dunga expects Brazil to recover
August 20, 2014
16:56Interim Brazil Assistant Coach Mauro Silva believes Dunga is the right man to revive the Seleção
August 12, 2014
23:04Brazil Under-20 Head Coach Alexandre Gallo intrigued by World Cup tactical trends
23:00Selecao Under-20 Head Coach Alexandre Gallo believes it will be difficult for Brazil to collectively improve
18:03Brazilian flair to win European Fantasy League in 2014/15
August 11, 2014
23:19Under-20 Head Coach Alexandre Gallo compares Brazil with Germany
August 09, 2014
22:34Alexandre Gallo: Germany an example, but Brazilians don't have the same patience
August 08, 2014
22:47Brazil Under-20 Head Coach Alexandre Gallo hopes more attention will be paid to youth system
August 07, 2014
13:27Dunga takes Brazil back to the future
July 23, 2014
17:02Napoli goalkeeper Rafael Cabral hoping for Seleção return under Dunga
July 19, 2014
23:19Gerard Houllier explains why Lionel Messi was awarded the Golden Ball
23:13Neymar believes Brazil can learn from Germany and Spain
23:07Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli welcomes introduction of vanishing spray into Serie A after World Cup success
July 14, 2014
23:57FIFA President Sepp Blatter denies involvement in selection of Lionel Messi as Golden Ball winner
23:48FIFA Secretary-General Jérôme Valcke expects Russia and Qatar World Cups to match Brazil
23:13Maicon philosophical over Brazil World Cup disappointment
July 13, 2014
23:44Fred hopes Fluminense will give him time off after World Cup disappointment
23:41Fred confirms he has retired from international football
09:54Sambafoot Sunday: Brazil's 2014 World Cup Fallout: New Failures
July 12, 2014
23:51Joachim Low: Germany can be the first European nation to win in Latin America
23:48Dunga: Germany played as a unit
23:44Thiago Silva left frustrated by Netherlands defeat
23:35Oscar has "horrible feeling" after Netherlands defeat
July 11, 2014
22:50Germany forward Thomas Muller looking forward to playing in the Maracana
July 09, 2014
23:55Neymar agent Wagner Ribeiro makes astonishing attack of Luiz Felipe Scolari
23:51Brazil Head Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari insists Germany defeat "not all bad"
23:48Cafu refused entry to Brazil dressing room after Germany defeat
15:30Tim Vickery Column: A look at Brazil’s capitulation against Germany and what now for Luiz Felipe Scolari
July 08, 2014
23:59Luiz Felipe Scolari: “Who is responsible for this result? I am, it’s me”
23:55Germany forward Miroslav Klose "truly happy" to break Ronaldo's World Cup scoring record
23:50Julio Cesar struggles to comprehend Brazil defeat
23:39Brazil 1-7 Germany: Ruthless Germany tear Seleção apart to secure historic semi-final victory
23:29Brazil 1-7 Germany: Player ratings
20:10Brazil v Germany: line-ups
July 07, 2014
22:25Brazil legend Amarildo believes Neymar absence could work to the Selecao's advantage against Germany
22:22Germany Head Coach Joachim Low wary of "robust" Brazil
22:05Maicon disappointed with refereeing on Neymar challenge
July 06, 2014
09:25Sambafoot Sunday: Ney Problem - Can Brazil Cope Without Neymar?
July 05, 2014
23:45Argentina forward Lionel Messi aiming for the World Cup final
23:30Medic insists vertebra injury will not compromise Neymar’s career
July 04, 2014
23:59Thiago Silva defends emotional Brazil
23:55James Rodriguez: David Luiz told me I was a good player
23:50David Luiz looks forward to "classic" encounter with Germany
23:47David Luiz: Colombia would have gone further if they “hadn't come up against Brazil”
15:34Luiz Felipe Scolari feels Brazil’s lack of a rivalry with Colombia will allow his players to be “more at ease'
June 26, 2014
14:33Report: Flamengo one of eight clubs who have enquired about loaning Internazionale midfielder Rubén Botta
June 16, 2014
11:35Brazil Head Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari backs Portugal to recovery from heavy Germany defeat
June 09, 2014
23:18Italy forward Lorenzo Insigne insists Italy’s poor defending in victory against Fluminense is “not important”
23:12Italy forward Ciro Immobile “excited” with hat-trick against Fluminense
22:56Italy Head Coach Cesare Prandelli pleased with Fluminense victory
22:52Italy Head Coach Cesare Prandelli delighted with Brazilian support
June 07, 2014
23:32Italy line up confirmed for Fluminense friendly
May 19, 2014
22:13Portugal Manager Paulo Bento names his 23-man 2014 FIFA World Cup squad
May 18, 2014
19:09Sambafoot Sunday: Botafogo's Shaky Start to 2014
April 13, 2014
08:34Sambafoot Sunday: Brazilian Clubs' Libertadores Numbers Game
April 06, 2014
09:20Sambafoot Sunday: Atlético Mineiro's Anelka Interest Should be the Norm
February 14, 2014
12:23Shakhtar Donetsk: President decided to support Maicon’s family
February 09, 2014
09:25Sambafoot Sunday: Where’s Wallyson? Botafogo find their new hero post-Seedorf
January 26, 2014
10:09Sambafoot Sunday: Cruciate curse affects Seleção hopes of three midfielders
December 01, 2013
13:36Sambafoot Sunday: Could Éverton Ribeiro Crack Europe?
November 25, 2013
11:39Brasileirão Week 36 round up: Vasco shock champions to stay in contention while defeat leaves Ponte Preta on the brink
November 24, 2013
10:17Sambafoot Sunday: Palmeiras Promoted with Chapecoense in Tow
November 17, 2013
12:00Palmeiras secure Brasileirão Série B title with 3-0 win against Boa Esporte
November 12, 2013
08:42Relegation threatened Fluminense sack head coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo
November 10, 2013
12:59Sambafoot Sunday: Atlético Paranaense's hurricane season
November 09, 2013
10:05Drummer angers Flamengo fans
November 04, 2013
13:04Brasileirão week 32 round-up: Big win for Vasco as in-form Goiás maintain top four push
November 03, 2013
17:31Sambafoot Sunday: Surprise Packages in the 2013 Brasileirão
October 28, 2013
11:31Brasileirão Week 31 round up: Vital win for Ponte Preta while Goiás maintain top four push
October 21, 2013
13:21Olympique Marseille without defender Lucas Mendes for Napoli fixture
12:12Injury rules Bayern Munich defender Dante out of Viktoria Plzeň tie
October 20, 2013
23:50São Paulo president Juvenal Juvêncio admits interest in Lucas Moura loan return
October 18, 2013
11:47Diego Maradona dispute’s Pelé’s FIFA recognition
09:04Del Bosque: Costa approach no insult to current strikers
October 17, 2013
21:43Hard work is paying off insists Bayern Munich defender Rafinha
13:17Rodrigo Lasmar: Ronaldinho on track to be fit for the Club World Cup
October 16, 2013
19:53Report: Tottenham Hotspur set to offer Paulinho extended deal
09:12Report: São Paulo could terminate Lúcio’s contract if injury concerns prevail
October 13, 2013
18:32Brasileirão: Grêmio slip up as Vitoria and Santos grab victories
14:49Vanderlei Luxemburgo: ‘Simulation part of football’
October 09, 2013
20:37Mineiro learn Club World Cup fate
October 06, 2013
22:39Oswaldo de Oliveira in hospital after Botafogo defeat
11:55Sambafoot Sunday: Cruzeiro cruising at the top of the Brasileirão
October 04, 2013
23:52Internacional manager Dunga sacked
September 14, 2013
14:29Guerrero: Corinthians can still be champions
September 11, 2013
20:49Roberto Carlos: Anzhi could collapse
14:57Exeter City play down Brazil fears
September 07, 2013
14:12Atlético Madrid's Filipe Luis: Barca-Madrid dominance an injustice
September 06, 2013
19:04Santos announce tour of South East Asia
18:42São Paulo slump to defeat as Rogerio Ceni misses penalty
September 05, 2013
19:17Cruzeiro go four points clear after defeating Bahia
18:43Romário and Maradona fight against CONMEBOL corruption
September 03, 2013
21:29Marcelo Mattos says Botafogo will overcome difficulties
20:54Réver believes Atlético Mineiro can challenge for Brazilian title
September 02, 2013
23:21São Paulo to honour Brazil legend Leonidas da Silva
September 17, 2014
22:25Zenit forward Hulk praises team-mate Oleg Shatov's role in his goal against Benfica
22:16Sampdoria forward Eder admits Palermo were interested in signing him this summer
22:13Sampdoria forward Eder praises Head Coach Siniša Mihajlović
22:08Roma defender Maicon refusing to get carried away despite emphatic CSKA Moscow victory
September 16, 2014
23:27Internacional midfielder Charles Aranguiz admits he is a "disorganised" player
23:23Internacional legend Elías Figueroa hails fellow Chilean Charles Aranguiz
23:18Flamengo forward Eduardo admits he feels "like a foreigner" in Brazil
23:11Luiz Gustavo insists he is happy at VfL Wolfsburg
23:06Athletic Bilbao Head Coach Ernesto Valverde hails Shakhtar Donetsk midfielders Alex Teixeira and Douglas Costa
September 15, 2014
18:38Milan give injury update on defender Alex
18:27Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho would be open to signing new deal
18:21Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho notes English sides were interested in Benfica star Talisca
18:11Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu expects Alex to quickly become key at Milan
September 14, 2014
09:59Athletic Bilbao Head Coach Ernesto Valverde hails Barcelona forward Neymar
09:54Ronaldinho motivated to succeed with Queretaro
09:50Ronaldinho insists he won't change his lifestyle at Queretaro
09:45Fluminense forward Fred insists World Cup disappointment is "in the past"
09:39Fluminense forward Fred insists jeering motivates him
September 13, 2014
22:33Flamengo forward Eduardo notes Brazilian football is growing in Croatia and Ukraine
22:26Flamengo forward Eduardo admits he thought the Brasileirão "would be easy"
22:20Real Madrid defender Pepe bemoans set-piece deficiencies
22:12Palermo loanee Emerson hails Alex Sandro and notes Robinho and Felipe Anderson persuaded him to make Serie A switch
22:10Palermo loanee Emerson eager to learn in Serie A
September 12, 2014
18:34Chelsea owned midfielder Lucas Piazon admits he could be open to permanent Eintracht Frankfurt switch
17:35Pele confident Lionel Messi can still win the World Cup
17:01Genoa not expecting FIFA sanctions over Anselmo transfer
16:14Ronaldinho hopes to keep winning at Queretaro
16:02Ronaldinho admits Rafa Marquez influenced his decision to join Queretaro
September 10, 2014
17:04Agent admits Maicon's Brazil career is likely to be over
16:59Sao Paulo loanee Alexandre Pato confirms he returned to Brazil to overcome injury problems
16:53Alexandre Pato blames medics for Milan demise
16:46Agent confirms Brazil are interesting in capping Napoli midfielder Jorginho
September 09, 2014
18:26Danilo praises new Porto Head Coach Julen Lopetegui
18:23Alex Sandro pleased with Porto's start to the season
17:44Maxwell confident Paris Saint-Germain can push Barcelona in the Champions League
16:00Paris Saint-Germain defender Maxwell hails time at Barcelona
September 08, 2014
18:23Miranda happy his stayed at Atletico Madrid
17:05Miranda: Atletico Madrid "has to fight for trophies"
16:44Atletico Madrid defender Miranda is pleased with the club's summer signings
16:00Casemiro expects strong Real Madrid
September 06, 2014
20:59Internazionale midfielder Hernanes praises team-mate Mateo Kovacic
20:56Internazionale defender Juan Jesus hails team-mate Mateo Kovacic
20:48Queretaro welcome new signing Ronaldinho
September 05, 2014
21:50Juan Jesus very happy at Internazionale
21:44Atletico Mineiro forward Diego Tardelli expected to start for Brazil against Colombia
21:36Cesc Fabregas backs Chelsea team-mate Diego Costa to come good for Spain
21:32Dunga: Neymar is Brazil's reference point
21:28Agent hopes Antonio Conte calls up Brazilian born Napoli midfielder Jorginho
September 03, 2014
19:41Barcelona defender Douglas hopes to adapt quickly to the pace of European football
19:38New signing Douglas admits he has to harder at Barcelona
Paris Saint-Germain    Onze Mondial Football Ukraine    Sport Consulting    
To the top