Both Casemiro and Marcelo played the majority of Brazil’s 3 - 0 win over Austria today, in what was another convincing display (post-Neymar return) from the Brazilians in their World Cup warmups.
Marcelo started in a back-four alongside Miranda, Thiago Silva, and Danilo; while Casemiro anchored the midfield with Coutinho and Paulinho on either side of him. Neymar, Gabriel Jesus, and Willian completed the 4-3-3.
No real shock, but Brazil are infinitely better with Neymar in the line-up. His presence on the left flank allows Coutinho to play deeper — stabilizing possession and control while taking the burden off of Willian and Marcelo to create. Against Croatia, before Neymar made his return from injury, Tite fielded a midfield trio of Casemiro - Paulinho - Fernandinho — an eyesore to be sure. Brazil had trouble creating chances and binding their attack; while Croatia were able to unnerve the three of them with their press. Neymar’s presence changes everything.
Some really quick notes on this one:
- Again, Neymar is a clear difference-maker. He scored a ridiculous goal against Croatia, and did so again today:
GOLAÇO DE NEYMAR, ASSIST WILLIAN!— Seleção Brasileira (@BrazilStat) June 10, 2018
He toys defenders and gets rid of them like he was playing in slow motion. World class. pic.twitter.com/vuRyoUNDg6
- There is a balance to this Brazil squad that didn’t exist four years ago. The transition defending from the team collectively was impressive. Willian did nice work to prevent Alaba from creating much in the final third (the Austrian spent most of his time with the ball hitting deep crosses or long-range passes that didn’t hit their target), and Coutinho tracked well enough to cover for Marcelo. Austria’s most dangerous moments typically came from their right flank where Arnautovic would roam and make runs (or find cutting runs) in-behind Marcelo.
- Marcelo is Marcelo. He had an assist on Brazil’s goal (I think it qualified, despite the deflection), and combined well with Gabriel Jesus, Neymar, and Coutinho throughout. He did have a moment in the 32nd minute where he over-dribbled and lost possession deep in his own half. Here’s his assist:
- Not that Casemiro was bad against Croatia by any means, but he looked far more comfortable today alongside Coutinho in midfield helping him as an outlet / keeping possession, as opposed to playing alongside Fernandinho who is less creative and more of an anchor himself.
- Casemiro played 60 minutes in this one (off for Fernandinho); while Marcelo played 67 minutes (off for Filipe Luis)