Anilava Chatterjee, Moscow: It was just 10 minutes into the game. Suddenly, Marcelo got down to his knees inside his own penalty box. He somehow managed to stand on his feet and called Neymar. Both went on discussing for a period of time. Both Neymar and Marcelo plays on the left hand side for the team. They have a pretty good understanding. When Neymar cuts into the opposition box from his preferred left flank, the overlapping Marcelo will always reach on time to support him. Marcelo attains second position, when it comes to the most popular players of the team. He possesses a wonderful character and he’s an exceptional footballer. From playing in 5 a side football matches to the prestigious world cup matches, whether it’s Real Madrid or Brazil, who has dictated play more dominantly as Marcelo ?! On Wednesday, by looking at his pain stricken face it was very much evident that there was some problem. After discussing with Marcelo, Neymar went to the coach to talk about it, but soon after, Marcelo was coming off with the team’s physio. He was in some pain. It was not clear what really happened until it was later revealed that his back went stiff for sleeping on an unsuitable mattress. But Brazil will be Brazil, with or without Marcelo. One of the biggest strengths of this Brazilian side is they are rich in young talents coupled with seasoned veterans. On one side there are the likes of Neymar, Thiago Silva and Willian or even Paulinho.
On the other side there are Gabriel Jesus, Phillipe Coutinho and Joao Miranda. That is the reason why Brazil were able to control the pace and the entire proceedings of the game. Just like I have seen back in 2002, the in depth strength of the team was still the same with players like Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Roberto Carlos along with Ronaldinho and Kaka. The rest as we all know is history. But does this current team has what it takes to replicate that historic performance ? Only time will tell. One of the most positive side of the Brazilian team is that they have a handful of leaders in their arsenal. Tite have rotated the captain’s armband in every matches. Firstly it was Marcelo to captain the side, in the second it was Thiago Silva and finally in the third, the former’s defensive partner, Joao Miranda. Fielding different captains in every matches is one particular aspect of many coaches. This actually helps to develop the leadership qualities of a player. When Ciric Milovan was the coach of the Indian national team back in the 80s, he also used to rotate captains in different matches. In some matches we used to see Sabbir Ali with the armband, in few it was Prasun Banerjee and in others Manoranjan Bhattacharjee captained the Indian team. According to these players of that team that this actually helped in maintaining a strong bond among the players.
Likewise Tite also wanted to develop this bond in every matches. But if someone who can really be a captain of this side, then it has to be Neymar. Marcelo before coming to his decision, wanted to consult it from first. Neymar also takes care of Jesus and Coutinho on the field. Neymar in off the ball situations, positions himself against the left sideline in such a way, that it becomes very difficult for the defenders to mark him. In the middle whenever Coutinho and Jesus has the ball, Neymar positions himself accordingly to support them. He creates for himself ample amount of space to play a decent ball. Whenever he’s running down the empty flank and a defender all of a sudden throws his entire body to stop him, we see him tumbling and rolling on the ground 4 to 5 times. Exceptional play acting I must say. He get’s up on his feet, whenever the referee shows a card to the opposition. He even get’s up with a smile on his face, by hugging the opposition player, even if the referee refuses to take out his card. According to Real Madrid fans, Barcelona players go through a special training only on play-acting. You’ll get a separate video of this on YouTube. In this case I would say Neymar should be thankful to Barcelona. Neymar ended his 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign in tears due to an injury. This time also before the start of the world cup he again has that problem. There were doubts whether he will play or not. But against all odds he did play and this time he burst out in tears by scoring a goal.
It seems Neymar was not under any pressure anymore. Whenever he gets the ball, Brazil becomes dangerous and the Brazilian fans are aware of it. After the end of the match I saw a group of Brazilians lifted the gallery up with their songs for about an hour or so. Their songs are for many footballers. Sometimes they dedicate it to the great Pele and sometimes they are in praise of Neymar. A few moments ago I got the news, that Germany have been knocked out of the tournament. For a couple of times heard them sing “Chao Chao Müller” but it all ended with Messi. A fierce competition to say the least. Leaving behind their celebrations they have now have made their new theme song as “Ciao Ciao Messi”. But that Messi, who has been mocked and opposed by the Brazilian fanatics, completed his training that day at their Bronnitsy base camp. The Argentine team will reach Kazan on Friday. Then there is the big match. 2014 World Champions have safely reached home by now. But all eyes are on the Runners-up now. Surely Messi and Co are aware of the news.