Brazil’s coach Kleiton Lima knows he has gifted players and he wants to attack. So far in three victories he used a 3-4-3 system.
Unlike the UNC 3-4-3 which relies on a high pressure, high tempo that requires excellent levels of fitness, Brazil sit back (to limit the space behind) and wait for their opponents to overstretch themselves and then break out. Typically, Brazil’s quick strikers are sufficiently superior to their opponents to capitalize on only a handful of chances as they did in group play.
Against USA, which is expected to use 4-4-2, Brazil will have one more defender than the opposing strikers, two to mark, one to cover and 2 shielding defensive midfielders in front. Any defense is only as good as the two central midfielders ahead of them. In Ester and especially in Formiga, Brazil have experienced, technical players capable of reading the game and able to control tempo.
In Cheney, Brazil will face its biggest problem. Her role and movement are unconventional and how Lima chooses to cope with the challenge will impact the outcome of this match.
Going forward, Brazil’s key to success is to have the constant creation of two v ones down the flanks, with wide midfielders linking up with the two wingers who are free to change places.
When the team is solid individual talent tips the balance and in Marta, Kleiton Lima has that talent capable of doing just that. Building around his number 10, Lima may have found the collective formation that leaves the team sufficiently protected and gives his attacking talent a platform to shine.