With Brazil exiting the World Cup in the quarter-final at the hands of Croatia, it has many of us questioning how we perceive the Seleção.
Brazil were tipped to be one of the favourites for this World Cup due to the sheer depth of talent at their disposal, and their exit from this tournament was a shock to many.
Brazil were on top for a large portion of the match against Croatia but struggled to turn their 2.55 xG into goals, and they paid the ultimate price for it as they exited the tournament in a penalty shoot-out.
On the other side of the coin, Argentina survived a harrowing affair against the Dutch, with Wout Weghorst dragging the Oranje back into the match with two goals. It was to come down to penalties.
Argentina prevailed, with Lautaro Martinez firing the decisive penalty into the top corner, which fired Argentina into the last four.
Speaking to Joe Molloy on Off The Ball, the French football expert Philippe Auclair assessed both sides and their contrasting positions.
‘For Brazil, I will try to be fair, but I have a big problem with Brazil. To be honest, I find it completely incomprehensible that people keep talking about Brazil as this huge power which is also offering us the most beautiful football on the planet,’ said Auclair. ‘That is rubbish. They don’t. They haven’t for decades!’
‘There is a whole circus that hypes them up, and I cannot stand it. I really can’t stand it. I cannot see what is so surprising about them going out. This is not the first time they have failed in a World Cup or in the Copa America for that matter.’
‘There is a constant over-evaluation of Brazil because of the talent and the depth of the talent that is probably the most extraordinary thing when you see some the players coming on in the 80th minute, and you think “oh yes, of course, they have that one as well.” In terms of the football they play, where is the beautiful football they play?’
‘Maybe I am blind! I am not hypnotised by those colours anymore, and I have not been for a very long time.’
Auclair then went on to analyse Argentina and the position they find themselves in and whether they are too over-dependent on Lionel Messi.
‘When it comes to Argentina, I still do not know what to think of that particular team. To me, it looks bizarre. You have Messi, who is playing magnificently on one end, and then on the other end, you have very promising young players and, in the middle, there is not much at all.’
‘It feels a lot like a very long piece of string, and in the middle, there is not a lot, to be honest. They are very dependent on Messi’s genius and Julian Alvarez, of course, but there is so only so far that that will take them.’
Brazil will travel back home to their homeland, reassess their stance within football, albeit without head coach Tite, and look to the future to try and claim their first piece of major silverware since 2019. Whereas Argentina will continue their World Cup odyssey against Croatia on December the 13th.
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