Brazil hope long huddle will bring joy

Written by on June 4, 2015


during the Women's International Friendly match between Germany and Brazil at Trolli-Arena on April 8, 2015 in Fuerth, Germany.

Marta during the Women’s International Friendly match between Germany and Brazil at Trolli-Arena on April 8, 2015 in Fuerth, Germany.

Brazil have slipped down the world rankings in recent years and in a bid to recapture the form that took them to the semis in 1999 and 2007, they have adopted an all-or-nothing approach for the Women’s World Cup.

Twenty-five of Brazil’s best players have been ensconced in a training camp since January and the focus is firmly on preparing themselves tactically and physically for the month-long tournament in Canada.

“The national side is our life right now,” manager Vadao said, “When you’re playing for a club, you go home at the end of the day but here you train and you go to the hotel with the team and the backroom staff.

“It can be tiring but the girls know what the objective is. We can be contenders. We are all together and we believe that we can challenge.”

Brazil are currently ranked seventh in the world, slightly better than last year’s eighth place, their lowest ranking since the system was inaugurated in 2003.

They will play in Group E at the World Cup against South Korea, Spain and Costa Rica.

As usual, they have a collection of talented individuals – marshalled by greats such as Cristiane, Formiga and of course Marta, a five-time world player of the year.

But their Achilles heel is their fitness and organisation.

With no year-round league and no nationwide system for bringing through younger players – many girls train with men’s clubs because there are no female teams nearby, Vadao said – Brazilian players cannot test themselves week-in, week-out.

“Our strong point is we have players who are individually excellent,” he said. “But we didn’t have the infrastructure or games or leagues to help us prepare.

“Germany are better prepared and better organised and we are together right now trying to overcome that, to work on the physical side of things and the tactics that we never had time to work on before.”

Brazil won the Copa America last September, losing just once in seven matches while scoring 22 goals and conceding only three. But they struggled when stepping up a level at the Copa Algarve in March, finishing a lowly seventh.

Anything less than a World Cup semifinal place in Canada will be a disappointment, but only time will tell if Vadao’s total immersion strategy pays off.

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