Mon | Jan 30, 2023

Brazil over Croatia’s veterans?

Published:Friday | December 9, 2022 | 12:43 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
Croatia’s Luka Modric in action during the World Cup round of 16  match between Japan and Croatia at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar on Monday, December 5.
Croatia’s Luka Modric in action during the World Cup round of 16 match between Japan and Croatia at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar on Monday, December 5.
Jureidini
Jureidini
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“Brazil are the most powerful and the best national team at the World Cup. What I’ve seen so far, when you take a look at their selection of players, their quality, skills and value, then it is indeed terrifying.” Those are the words of Croatia’s...

“Brazil are the most powerful and the best national team at the World Cup. What I’ve seen so far, when you take a look at their selection of players, their quality, skills and value, then it is indeed terrifying.”

Those are the words of Croatia’s coach Zlatko Dalic, spoken after Brazil produced a brilliant 45-minute display in Qatar at this year’s tournament in a comprehensive defeat of South Korea.

Jamaican analyst Clyde Jureidini isn’t, however, taking Dalic’s statement as a sign of surrender before today’s quarterfinal meeting between the teams. Though he described Brazil as one of the favourites to win the World Cup, he thinks Croatia are well worth their spot in the last eight.

The 2018 runners-up came through a difficult first round group with a 4-1 win over Canada and 0-0 draws against Belgium and Morocco before coming from 0-1 to level with Japan in the round of 16 and winning on penalties.

“So, when he says what he says, don’t listen to him,” Jureidini cautioned. “They have shown in this tournament good sense, good measure by not conceding goals in the first round, but knowing when to score, how to score, have the experience, the class of Modric who they could take off in the last game, and bring on younger players, and still hold their own, and still showing quality,” the Harbour View FC stalwart advised.

However, like most observers, Jureidini was dazzled by Brazil’s first-half display in their round of 16 game against South Korea, which ended 4-1, and he pinpointed forward Richarlison as a mover and shaker.

REAL DEAL

“I think only the France performance would equal it and shows why France and Brazil are seen and now genuinely look like the real deal, the teams to beat in this World Cup,” Jureidini stated.

France dominated Poland 3-1 to advance from the round of 16 on Sunday.

The match against the South Koreans saw the return from injury for top star Neymar but Jureidini highlighted Richarlison.

“He came from behind a defender in the penalty area, in front of the defender to show his outstanding work ethic and then was clipped because the defender didn’t see him or expect him to come into that space. That’s how the penalty came for the second goal,” he said of the build-up to the penalty scored in style by Neymar.

“He juggled the ball three times on his head, outside the area for goal number three. He turned, laid off a pass,” Jureidini continued, “went on the ground, had an exchange of passes in the middle of the box, and then shot past the goalkeeper.”

He reckons Brazil’s frontline is an irresistible force.

“Vinicius Junior has also come into the party. So it was the attacking prowess of all their front four or five players on display that won them the game,” Jureidini explained.

Brazil scored all their four goals with no reply from the Koreans in the first half.