The comeback defeat against Colombia, this Thursday (16), by 2-1, in a World Cup qualifying match, not only exposed the weaknesses of the team that is being modeled by Fernando Diniz, but will also make the Brazilian team register its worst defeat percentage in the same year since 1963.
There are four defeats in eight duels in 2023. The last time Brazil lost 50% of its matches in the same year was in 1948. Next Tuesday (21), at Maracanã, the next opponent will be Argentina, leader of the Qualifiers and current world champion.
Even in the event of a triumph over their rivals, the Canarian team will still close this cycle with a defeat percentage of 44.44%, the team’s worst record since 1963, when the Brazilians lost eight of the 18 games they played that year.
The difference now is that Brazilians are not hungover like they were six decades ago, when it was still possible to celebrate the recent victory of the 1962 World Cup.
The last time the cup came here was in 2002. After that, the failures piled up. In Qatar, in 2022, the team fell in the quarterfinals, eliminated by Croatia, and finished seventh in the final table. It was the fourth worst performance in World Cups, surpassing only 1934, 1966 and 1990, when it finished in 14th, 11th and 9th place, respectively.
Then coach of the national team in the last World Cup, Tite warned in advance that he would not remain in the position regardless of the result. The shame did not arouse any chorus due to its permanence. With an interim coach, Brazil started the year with defeats to Morocco (2-1) and Senegal (4-2) and only beat Guinea (4-1).
In July, Fernando Diniz, coach of Fluminense, was announced to also lead the team on an interim basis, without leaving the club for a year, while the CBF (Brazilian Football Confederation) awaits the arrival of the Italian Carlo Ancelotti, from Real Madrid, with whom the entity says it has an agreement.
Despite expectations of forming a team organized in defense and aggressive in attack, under Diniz’s command, Brazil disappointed. The excitement after the 5-1 defeat of Bolivia, when the coach made his debut, only lasted until the next match, when he suffered to defeat Peru, 1-0.
Subsequently, the crisis worsened. First there was the draw with Venezuela at home, 1-1, then the defeat against Uruguay, and now the defeat against Colombia.
The Brazilian team had never lost to the Colombians in qualifying games. They had also not recorded two consecutive defeats in the qualifiers. These are brands that have drastically reduced the excitement about the work of Diniz, current Libertadores champion with Fluminense.
“The team lost two games and that’s very bad, but I think the amount of change the team has made, the changes it’s had since the World Cup, with little time to train, we have to take that into account”, argued the coach.
He also asked for the positive aspects of the game against Colombia to be highlighted. However, the Brazilian team had a brief flash in Barranquilla, especially in the first minutes, when they scored the first goal with Gabriel Martinelli, in the 4th minute.
Afterwards, it was only up to the home team, who knew how to regain control of the midfield and exploit the weaknesses on Brazil’s flanks.
Author of the two goals of the comeback, Luís Díaz left the field with an impressive ten shots, almost half of the Colombians’ shots. He mainly exploited the plays behind the backs of the Royal and Lodi full-backs, who were often one-on-one with him, as Martinelli even tried, but was barely able to double the marking on the left, while Raphinha couldn’t even do that.
Diniz’s Brazil had more possession of the ball (60% versus 40%), not surprisingly, it exchanged more passes (531 versus 342), but it was much less effective in attack, with just 12 shots compared to Colombia’s 23.
To make matters worse, Vinicius Junior left the match early, after 27 minutes, injured. The Real Madrid star will not be fit to play against Argentina next Tuesday.
In the second half, the changes promoted by Diniz worsened the team’s performance. Rodrygo, who inherited the 10 in Neymar’s absence and the role of creator in midfield, was replaced in the 22nd minute of the final stage by striker Paulinho, from Atlético-MG. After the change, the dangerous plays against the Colombian goal stopped. According to Diniz, the change was due to the Real Madrid player’s fatigue.
“We will do everything to correct what went wrong, especially in marking, and deliver an even better game in an offensive sense”, promised the Brazilian coach about the confrontation with Argentina.
The task will not be easy. Even though they were also defeated in this round, 2-0 to Uruguay, the Argentines played a more balanced game in front of their fans, who had not known what it was like to lose since the surprising defeat to Saudi Arabia in the first round of the World Cup. in Qatar.
The current world champions are also having a more consistent campaign in the Qualifiers, with 12 points added after four wins and one defeat. Meanwhile, Brazil fell in this round from second to fifth place, with seven points: two wins, one draw and two defeats.
Even Ecuador, which is sixth and currently holds the last place for the next World Cup, scored more points than the Brazilians, with two wins and two draws. The only reason it doesn’t appear with eight points on the leaderboard is because the country was punished with the loss of three points for having selected an irregular player in the qualifying campaign for Qatar.
In a dispute with ten teams in which six will qualify for the next World Cup, it is very difficult and even unlikely that Brazil will not be able, for the first time in its history, to win a place. But it is not exaggerated to raise the alarm in the Brazilian team.