To be honest, I can’t think of a tactic or a formation to beat Brazil, and I wonder if any manager can, when faced with a team that plays so instinctively, and with such fluidity; as I write this, Ghana is a goal down against Brazil and Cafu, a right back was just in the box, about to attempt a shot on goal.
There is, however, one factor that comes to mind- something that’s troubled me ever since the first match- the Fear Factor. This Brazillian team is as good as the last and the one before that; whether it is better is debatable. Still, it has been hyped to such an extent that teams are actually afraid of taking them on. They go into the game believing that they have to prevent Brazil from scoring at all costs. Think back to what the Aussies did against Brazil – they played with a low back line, often with as many as five at the back afraid to move forward, thus allowing the seven of ten Brazillians to forge forward beyond the halfway line. A low back line also makes the offside trap difficult, if not impossible. Ronaldo had three players around him when he passed the ball to Adriano who scored against the Aussies.
The Fear Factor costs many a team the game because they attempt to keep players of the quality of Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Kaka and Adriano quiet, which, over a period of 90 minutes seems improbable, if not impossible. The way to go about it is to assume that you’re going into the game a goal down and attempt to score two to win. If, in the process, Brazil score one, you’re still in the clear. An attack against Brazil will force them to opt for counterattacks instead of moving forward with numbers, and you’re always safer against two forward instead of seven. Ghana, a goal down, has started attacking Brazil, and had their finishing been better, could well have beent two up on Brazil. Their attacking play has put Brazil on the defensive, which is what happened when Australia started attacking too.
So, the way to have a chance against Brazil is to go into the game believing that Brazil are as effective in attack as France have been so far. Which is where a team like Argentina could beat the Brazillians, because they’ve got quality players who are in form and high on confidence. They won’t be afraid and they can win.