Brazil played their second and final friendly of the international break against Italy today as the preparations of the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup continue.
Pia Sundhage went with the tested 4-4-2 formation but this time with Kerolin and Beatriz as the front 2. Kathellen was once again deployed in the left center-back role.
Italy experimented a fair bit with their lineup and came out with a 5-3-2 of sorts. The lineup included Everton’s midfielder, Aurora Galli, starting in a RB/RWB role, while AC Milan’s Valentina Bergamaschi started in an advanced position on the left as the left wingback.
The game was very uneventful. Brazil quickly showed their intentions to play direct with some early long balls onto Kerolin and Geyse to run onto. Brazil’s first shot came in the 17th minute and required a big reflex save from Italian goalkeeper, Laura Giugliani. The shot came from a corner situation after Italy couldn’t clear their lines following a punched clearance.
In the 28th minute, Italy had a mix up at the back with Giugliani rushing out to perform a sweeping action. Kerolin managed to sneak a touch on the ball before the defender or the goalkeeper could reach it and they were caught in no man’s land. The shot went just wide of an empty goal. Giugliani looked vulnerable playing out the back and it caused Italy some problems during the buildup, especially on goalkicks with Brazil’s pressing structure marking out the CBs and the defensive midfielder (Rosucci).
Brazil threatened on transitions while Italy struggled to play through Brazil’s 4-4-2 structure. Italy only recorded 1 shot in the entire half. Brazil found lot of joy targeting the left flank, where Galli was operating as the makeshift right back.
In the second half, Brazil were once again off to a quick start and scored inside 2 minutes. Adriana was able to place her shot really well after a long ball from RB, Antonia, found her in the box and Italy were unable to clear their lines.
The game didn’t really come to live beyond this either. Italy managed just 2 shots in the entire half, underlining their struggles to play around or through Brazil’s 4-4-2 shape. One of the those shots was arguably a mishit cross from second half substitute, Sofia Cantore. They couldn’t threaten Brazil goal but one could argue this was Italy’s second string attack, missing the likes of Barbara Bonansea and Cristiana Girelli.
Kathellen had an average outing playing as the left center-back and didn’t look very comfortable in her actions down that side. Her passing range was severely restricted due to restrictions on her dominant foot (right). She misplaced some passes because of this. In her defensive duels she was aggressive as usual but didn’t always have success and that resulted in some opportunities down the right for Italy.
Overall these two games showcased the restricted impact when playing on the left side of defence as compared to her more suited right.
She will now return to Madrid for the upcoming league and Champions league fixtures. Real Madrid now face Alaves on 16th October.