Friday, October 16, 2009

The Egyptian finale starring Ghana and Brazil

Kick off time: 1800 GMT

Venue: Cairo International Stadium

The time is nigh and Ghana is in a state of perpetual flux. Ghana plays Brazil for the third time in this comeptition's history and both teams have an agenda. I've done a lot on Ghana during the course of the games, so we'll do the Selecao instead.


They have been called Egypt 2009's most complete side and it is quite understandable. Brazil have scored 14 goals in 6 games, only superceded by Spain and the team they face later today -Ghana. While others may have scored more, these guys have played a brand of football is not strange to those who know anything about the 'joga bonito'

Their record in this comepetition is well known (won 4 times and appeared severally) but I want to concentrate on coach Rogerio Laurenco (pictured).

The 37-year-old may not be the most experienced of coaches but he has shown he's the perfect man for the job. The former defender was a player himself not that long ago and when he hung up his boots in 2001 at just 30 years of age, he went straight to coaching, starting off in the youth divisions of his old playing club, Flamengo.

It's worth noting that he has the record for the most goals scored by a defender in Flamengo's history.

Today, part of his job description includes helping Brazil’s national senior team coach, Dunga while also taking charge of the country’s under-aged teams. Lourenco said:

"Of course there is pressure to win. Anyone who coaches in Brazil knows this."

Brazil's coach hopes that "facing another attacking team, like Brazil, means that the football will be better to watch" considering the two teams have scored 30 goals between them.

At this tournament the guy has whipped his team into an attacking machine spearheaded by Alex Teixeira and Alan Kardec. The captain, Giulano, also has that hold on his peers that natural captains seem to possess. In the line-up is Douglas Costa - the man who was among the most-feared before the tournament started on September 24.

Yet, he has been largely benched and has played only 3 matches and scored once. Why the coach has done that is beyond me but he's the gaffer.

What to expect

Ghana and Brazil have been here before in 1993. In that final in Sydney, Ghana took a 1-0 lead after a quarter of an hour, but Brazil equalized five minutes after the restart and sealed what was their third title with the winning strike two minutes before the end of normal time.

So, Senor Lourenco would be looking to do it again.

His team's 14 goals have been scored from all sides of the fields by different players, unlike Ghana who have had half of theirs' by Dominic Adiyiah. That means the Satellites must be wary of anybody in yellow and green.

Out of their sixteen, 11 of Ghana’s goals have come on the other side of halftime, and both Brazil and Ghana have come from behind to win twice, so don’t count out either if they start slowly.

Referee: Frank de Bleeckere, Belgium

Game on!