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High-Flying Paraguay Downs Brazil

It wasn't just the Caribbean that provided weekend shocks in World Cup qualifying. In South America, Brazil slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Paraguay, and a loss or a tie against Argentina Wednesday could leave them outside of the qualifying spots in the regional table.
"In all their glorious history," writes Tim Vickery, "Brazil can have played with few central midfields as mediocre as the trio of Gilberto Silva, Mineiro and Josue. [Paraguayan capital] Asuncion is a difficult place to visit and Paraguay are top of South America's World Cup qualification table, so there is not necessarily any shame in losing to them -- but the Brazil performance was bitterly disappointing and once again the midfield was the source of many of the problems."
Brazil's defensive formula is looking "tired," he continues. In the past few years Brazil has gone for midfielders "who did little other than mark and offer a physical barrier. In effect, they played another pair of center backs in front of the center backs. The logical degeneration of such a process is Gilberto Silva, a converted center-back, at the heart of Brazil's midfield." He hopes that coach Dunga will work with younger prospects such as Anderson and Lucas at the Olympics in China this summer, and maybe recapture "their wonderful tradition for imaginative central midfield play."

Read the whole story at BBC Sport »

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