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FIFA World Cup 2014: Brazil don't need help to win games

Tuesday, 17 June 2014 - 6:19am IST | Agency: DNA

A few matches into Brazil 2014 and I have to say the action on the pitch so far has exceeded my expectations. The attacking football we have seen has come as a pleasant surprise. It's not unusual to expect teams to be defensive in the first week of the tournament, but instead most teams have been pretty adventurous which has indeed made for great viewing.

Something else I found surprising was what happened in the second half of the England-Italy match. The most notable sight was seeing England's players suffer a bad case of cramps. It's something I haven't yet seen happen to any other team. I know the conditions in Manaus were extremely daunting, but being here in Brazil, I can tell you it's been hot and humid in other venues too. And remember the situation was the same for Italy, but the Italian players clearly coped with it a lot better than their opponents. So England's team management have got to reflect on whether they missed a trick in their preparations.

All said and done, the loss for England leaves them facing Uruguay in a must-win game on Thursday. Mind you, the Uruguayans need the three points just as badly after slipping to a shock 3-1 win against Costa Rica.

Later this evening, an exciting match awaits us between hosts Brazil and a strong Mexico side at the Estadio Castelao. Both teams won their first matches with controversy playing its part in both games. The penalty awarded to Brazil which Neymar converted for their second goal against Croatia might have been soft, but I thought a lot of the reaction from the international press was overboard. Theories floating around suggested that Brazil were being helped by the referees. Take a good look at the side, they certainly don't need any help to win games.

This hasn't created a healthy situation for the referee for today's game who will have to think twice before making a big call. I'd much rather have the focus on Neymar. What a way to announce your arrival at the World Cup! Against the Croats, he showed his true pedigree compared to what we've seen of him at Barcelona where he seems to play second-fiddle to Lionel Messi. It's totally different with Brazil where he is the centre of attention, and on the evidence of the Croatia match, he clearly knows how to deal with it to good effect!

The writer led The Netherlands to victory in 1988 Euro


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