So far, in the 2014 World Cup, Brazil have failed to live up to the expectations everybody had for them before the tournament began. Their first two games have been played against a good standard of opposition, but still, Brazil have simply not met the standards that were placed on them as the talented team that they are, and being the host nation playing in front of their own fans.
There’s still a long way to go, however, and time for Brazil to tweak their setup and garner some results and performances which more accurately reflect the team’s skill. One change that would help the team is to insert Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho into the starting lineup.
The Brazil team has played with a lack of tempo and energy so far, and after a fortunate win over Croatia, Brazil drew 0-0 with Mexico in a game in which the Selecao took 60 minutes to wake up. Brazil proved to be decent from that point on, but everybody expected better than decent and without a 60 minute wait.
Fernandinho played an excellent season for City, but he also adapted his game slightly in comparison to how he has played in previous seasons. At City, Fernandinho is more of a defensive midfielder to cover for the lung bursting runs of Yaya Toure, but for Brazil, he could return to his energetic box-to-box style he played more of at Shakhtar Donetsk.
In the current Brazil midfield, Luiz Gustavo has done a solid job as the defensive of the two central midfielders, but Paulinho has been nonexistent in his position and has provided no attacking impetus, tempo, creativity or goal threat as his role requires. Dropping Paulinho to the bench and playing Fernandinho in a more box-to-box role would give the Brazil the drive and tempo in midfield that the team is lacking.
In attack, players like Oscar and Neymar can create in the final third, but they are not getting the ball in the right areas or anywhere near quickly enough to be as effective as they can be. There is a disconnect between the attackers and the midfield and Fernandinho can link that together to help the attacking players shine more than they currently are.
Paulinho had a poor first season at Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League, and his form seems to be, so far, translating into the World Cup. On the contrary, Fernandinho enjoyed an impressive first season in the Premier League with City, and if given the chance to do so, he could now replicate the same for Brazil.