Tit had simply pledged to bounce in conjunction with his Brazil squad, and to hell with the curls, when he alighted upon any other type of visible show. “When we paint a painting, the entire painting is the athletes,” he stated. “They are the ones who are portrayed in this painting and we are just participants. We just contribute to the painting; the painting is just the players themselves.”
If they’re to attract a line underneath two barren many years this wintry weather, Brazil must grasp the entire arts. The choreographed routines with which they greeted every function towards South Korea had been appeared upon dimly in some quarters however that could be a trifling fear. The extra urgent theme is whether or not Croatia, with their savvy and seasoned core, will permit as many alternatives for joyful celebration after they face Tite’s gamers within the closing 8.
The “Croatian resilience” was once a theme in his pre-match pronouncements. It will probably be Brazil’s hardest hurdle but via a ways: there’s no likelihood Zlatko Dalic will inform his aspect to depart gaps within the way of South Korea, who entertained however had been manifestly open. Croatia will take a seat down, strap in and check out to guide Brazil alongside the gradual street. “We want to score goals quickly so later we can feel more comfortable,” Tite stated. But until Vinícius Júnior, Neymar, Richarlison and their cohort can repeat Monday’s explosive get started, the momentum would possibly start to shift glacially.
That is what came about when Croatia slowly took the wind out of Japan, eking a victory on spot-kicks for the 3rd time of their previous 5 knockout ties. “We have developed a mental strength and a certain consistency in extra time and penalties,” stated Luka Modric, who gave the impression with Dalic moments after Tite. “So if it comes to that, our last match is confirmation we can do it again. We’re prepared for anything.”
Another exit at this stage would not be enough for Brazil, although a garrulous Tite showed little sign of strain. He played along with a journalist’s suggestion of potential mascot status for the cat that interrupted a Vinícius press conference on Wednesday; if a particularly spicy question, usually on the subject of dancing, came his way he asked his interlocutor’s name and fired back. “I will not make comments to those who do not know Brazilian history and culture,” he told one of them. “I leave that noise aside. We will continue doing things our way.
Dalic pointed out that a third quarter-final for a country of 3.9 million people is nothing to be sniffed at. Expectations have been raised by their performance four years ago and he equated Friday’s task with the game that eventually proved their undoing in Russia. “The match ahead of us will be the most demanding game; I can compare it to France in the final. It’s a great challenge for us. I wish such a difficult match was waiting for us a bit later but we’re one of the teams that has reached this stage and our ambitions will not stop there.”
In a curious climbdown, Dalic apologized for offending anyone in the winter sports fraternity who might have been upset when he said football is “not figure skating, this is a fight for a result” amid criticism of Croatia’s muted attacking performance against Japan. They lack a reliable centre-forward and out-and-out pace on the flanks. Croatia are both new and old: 18 of the squad were not around for their runners-up finish but five of the remainder have been heavily involved in Qatar. For the last game, Dalić named the oldest starting XI of any last-16 contender at a World Cup since France’s side in the 2006 final.
Patience may end up being critical for Brazil when faced with those wiles. Joyful exuberance, flicks and forehead keepy-ups may cut less ice now. The critical battle may lie in midfield, where Casemiro will be given the task of holding the fort against Modric, Mateo Kovacic and Marcelo Brozovic. Casemiro has played with the first two at Real Madrid; all three are battle-hardened and Tite may wrestle with the option of recalling Fred to subdue their influence. Then again, sacrificing a more creative force would risk playing into his opponents’ hands.
That is the balance everyone must strike at this stage: idealism versus the understanding that these evenings often find a way of becoming protracted, tortuous, tense. The fine details matter more than ever. Tite was accompanied by his assistant Cléber Xavier, who began to answer a question about how Modric might be stifled. He had begun to suggest work off the ball would rival combinations on it in terms of importance when he was half-jokingly reminded by his boss: “We must not give away our strategy.”
Dalic was far happier to expound his theories on gaining the upper hand. “If we play wide we’ll have great problems, we know that,” he stated. “But after they lose the ball they have got prime urgent and, if they do not take keep an eye on of the ball within the subsequent couple of seconds, they have got issues as smartly. We should retain ownership.
Modric is greater than in a position to that, portray the kind of image Tite would moderately now not need to appreciate. It would possibly change into an instance for the cinematic, the instant of brutal, decisive drama, moderately than the deftly textured collage Brazil’s supervisor would love. The Seleção would win awards for self-expression throughout maximum media to this point however subsequent comes a problem in mise-en-scene,