“Jardine, Alves and the boys need to make Brazil smile in such testing times”

 

The happy faces at the Maracana Stadium five years ago are still etched in the memories of each and every Brazil fan where the Selecao won the Olympic Gold Medal for the first time in their history. In the summer Olympics, Brazil did not have great memories to relish – they did come close with players like Carlos Dunga, Romario and Bebeto; but the jinx was broken by Rogero Micale and Neymar in Rio 2016.

After five years, the Selecao would look to defend their title in Tokyo where the summer Olympics of 2020 would proceed after it was halted last year due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Before the Olympic event, the Selecao failed against the arch-rivals at the temple of Brazilian football – Maracana and witnessed Lionel Messi lifting the trophy. It was a huge disappointment for Brazil and the fans because losing at Marcana in a major event is not what Brazil are accustomed to for 46 years.

But all good things come to an end.

It is time to move on and perhaps, the Brazil Football Team participating in the Olympics in Tokyo could make everyone smile by defending their title.

Brazil had a difficult campaign, only managed to qualify after the final game by beating Argentina 3–0.

Still, under Andre Jardine, the team is expected to fulfil the expectations.

Jardine is known to be a well-educated person with a piece of very good knowledge about football – he has quite a bit of history as a coach also.

After representing Gremio’s youth categories, he started studying Engineering but graduated in Physical Education at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul.

Jardine joined Internacional in 2003, being appointed manager of the under-10s. He took over all the club’s youth categories during his ten-year stay, with his last team being the under-20s.

In 2013, he returned to Gremio after being named under-17 manager.

In 2014, after Enderson Moreira’s dismissal, Jardine was named interim manager, being in charge for one match – a 2–1 loss against Vitoria – before the appointment of Luiz Felipe Scolari. Subsequently, he was named assistant but ended the year as the coordinator of the under-15s after having altercations with Scolari.

2015, Jardine moved to Sao Paulo and was appointed at the helm of the under-20s. He was interim manager for two occasions (in 2016 and 2018) before being named assistant in March 2018.

In 2018, he was named interim until the end of the campaign, replacing sacked Diego Aguirre.

Later on, Jardine was definitely appointed manager of Tricolor for the 2019 season.

In February 2019, however, he was removed from his management role but was still kept at the club.

Jardine took over the Brazil national under-20 team, replacing fired Carlos Amadeu.

Later that year, he also took charge of the under-23s, following Sylvinho’s abdication.

He has selected a 22-men squad that includes the veteran Dani Alves and many other recognized and talented youngsters who could shine in Tokyo if they play according to their potential, but above all, Jardine must not make mistakes by selecting the wrong players and leaving the right ones on the bench.

Like, in the Pre-Olympic warm-up match against the United Arab Emirates, the Selecao were trailing at the start and started to strike the right Chord when Jardine made the substitutions.

Brazil got back on track and netted five times.

After the match, Jardine said, “There’s a lot of players coming from vacation. For half of the team, practically, it is the first game of the season, still without pace. I think a little bit of the goals lost has a lot of that, lacks a little pace, precision in the finish. The own goals that we suffered, lack a timing, and added pace.”

“The friendly puts us one step ahead of the level that we were today, with more training, to make some corrections, evolve something else and, with the addition of players who are coming, I think we will debut at a better level. For sure, we will have to grow throughout the competition to reach a level to be able to add the medal.”

“Quite a disposition and ability to create situations as we waste a lot of opportunities, but we also created a lot, that’s always positive. We did not stop running and competing. I liked the potential of the bank to come in and make a difference, even with 15, 20 minutes. A lot of good and a lot that we can fix.”

Indeed, Jardine and Brazil need to fix if there are chinks in the armoury, but nevertheless, it seems, Claudinho and Paulinho are lacking the rhythm and thus players like Antony or Richarlison should start on the right-wing.

Richarlison had a frustrating Copa America campaign and might be struggling with fatigue and for which Antony should be the ideal choice.

 

And, most importantly, Richarlison is a player, who suits better on the left/central position and for which, Antony should be the ideal choice on the right-wing and that come to the point, who would start on the left!

If Richarlison is not in good touch, then on the left wing, Gabriel Martinelli would deliver better.

Gabriel Martinelli is effective on either side of the wings and posses game-changing abilities and at the centre – in between the two wingers – Matheus Cunha is the ideal man to lead the attack. Cunha is impressing time and again and till now, he is the man who could be the torchbearer of legendary goal-scorers of Brazil in the coming days.

In the midfield, Reinier Jesus, Bruno Guimeres and Douglas Luiz would be ideal players.

It would be the ideal blend of attack, the dash of playmaking and pivoting the midfield and shield the backline.

Diego Carlos and Nino at the back with Arana and veteran Dani Alves positioning at the full-backs with Santos in between the sticks.

The selection of Dani Alves might have raised many eyebrows, but in such a young team, the experience and leadership qualities of Alves would be highly valuable.

“He is a leader, a winner, he has a lot of charisma and he is very respected by all the Brazilian players,” said Jardine.

“He is a great example for this generation of players that we have.”

“And, curiously, he has never competed in the Olympic games, so we think it is the perfect marriage.

“He is going to be an example to the squad and a leader on the pitch.”

“And if we think of the player with excitement to become a champion…he has a rich history of titles.”

Brazil would start their campaign on July 22 with the match against Germany – one of the tournament favourites.

Jardine, Alves and the boys need to make Brazil smile in such testing times.

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