Previous
Arsenal
Southampton
1
2
FT
Game Details
Liverpool
Middlesbrough
(14) 2
(13) 2
FT-Pens
Game Details
Real Madrid
Elche
5
1
FT
Game Details
Bayern Munich
SC Paderborn 07
4
0
FT
Game Details
Empoli
AC Milan
2
2
FT
Game Details
Arsenal
Southampton
1
2
FT
Game Details
Cardiff City
AFC Bournemouth
0
3
FT
Game Details
Derby County
Reading
2
0
FT
Game Details
Leyton Orient
Sheffield United
0
1
FT
Game Details
Liverpool
Middlesbrough
(14) 2
(13) 2
FT-Pens
Game Details
Milton Keynes Dons
Bradford City
2
0
FT
Game Details
Shrewsbury Town
Norwich City
1
0
FT
Game Details
Sunderland
Stoke City
1
2
FT
Game Details
Swansea City
Everton
3
0
FT
Game Details
Fulham
Doncaster Rovers
2
1
FT
Game Details
Real Madrid
Elche
5
1
FT
Game Details
Celta Vigo
Deportivo La Coruña
2
1
FT
Game Details
Bayern Munich
SC Paderborn 07
4
0
FT
Game Details
Eintracht Frankfurt
Mainz
2
2
FT
Game Details
TSG Hoffenheim
SC Freiburg
3
3
FT
Game Details
Werder Bremen
Schalke 04
0
3
FT
Game Details
Empoli
AC Milan
2
2
FT
Game Details
Stade de Reims
Marseille
0
5
FT
Game Details
Stade Rennes
Toulouse
0
3
FT
Game Details
Newport County
Swindon Town
1
2
FT
Game Details
Aberdeen
Livingston
4
0
FT
Game Details
Falkirk
Rangers
1
3
FT
Game Details
Kilmarnock
St Johnstone
0
1
FT
Game Details
Partick Thistle
St Mirren
1
0
FT
Game Details
Ross County
Hibernian
0
2
FT
Game Details
Clyde
Montrose
1
2
FT
Game Details
Brescia
Lanciano
1
1
FT
Game Details
Cittadella
Pro Vercelli
1
2
FT
Game Details
Crotone
Catania
1
1
FT
Game Details
Frosinone
US Avellino
0
0
FT
Game Details
Livorno
Varese
1
0
FT
Game Details
Modena
Perugia
0
0
FT
Game Details
Ternana
Bologna
0
1
FT
Game Details
Trapani
Virtus Entella
2
2
FT
Game Details
US Pescara
Latina
1
1
FT
Game Details
Vicenza
Bari
1
0
FT
Game Details
FC Ingolstadt 04
FC Erzgebirge Aue
1
1
FT
Game Details
SpVgg Greuther Furth
VfR Aalen
1
1
FT
Game Details
St Pauli
TSV Eintracht Braunschweig
1
0
FT
Game Details
SV Sandhausen
TSV 1860 Munich
1
0
FT
Game Details
AC Ajaccio
Le Havre AC
0
1
FT
Game Details
Angers
AJ Auxerre
0
0
FT
Game Details
Arles
Stade Laval
2
3
FT
Game Details
AS Nancy Lorraine
Tours
2
1
FT
Game Details
Dijon FCO
Créteil
2
1
FT
Game Details
Nimes
Chateauroux
1
0
FT
Game Details
Orléans
Ajaccio GFCO
0
1
FT
Game Details
Sochaux
Brest
0
0
FT
Game Details
Troyes
Niort
4
1
FT
Game Details
Capelle
FC Volendam
0
1
FT
Game Details
Rijnsburgse Boys
Sparta Rotterdam
0
3
FT
Game Details
Scheveningen
Lisse
4
1
FT
Game Details
VVSB
Vitesse Arnhem
1
2
FT
Game Details
Spakenburg
NAC Breda
3
4
FT
Game Details
Achilles '29
Twente Enschede
Postp
Game Details
Ajax Amateurs
NEC Nijmegen
2
2
FT
Game Details
Almere City
ADO Den Haag
2
2
FT
Game Details
Deltasport
Willem II Tilburg
2
1
FT
Game Details
Exelsior Maassluis
FC Emmen
1
4
FT
Game Details
Flevo Boys
DOS '37
1
0
FT
Game Details
HHC Hardenberg
RKC Waalwijk
1
0
FT
Game Details
Kozakken Boys
Sportlust '46
1
2
FT
Game Details
ONS Sneek
Dordrecht '90
0
3
FT
Game Details
PSV Eindhoven
FC Utrecht
Postp
Game Details
VVV Venlo
FC Eindhoven
0
0
FT
Game Details
Roda JC Kerkrade
Heerenveen
2
1
FT
Game Details
FC Basel
FC Vaduz
3
1
FT
Game Details
FC Thun
Lucerne
3
2
FT
Game Details
Sporting Kansas City
Real Estelí
3
0
FT
Game Details
Portland Timbers
Alpha United
6
0
FT
Game Details
César Vallejo
Universitario de Sucre
3
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 5 - 2
Game Details
Cerro Porteño
Independiente del Valle
3
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 1
Game Details
San Martín de San Juan
Argentinos Juniors
2
0
FT
Game Details
Atlante
Mérida
1
1
FT
Game Details
Correcaminos
At. San Luis
3
3
FT
Game Details
Lobos BUAP
Oaxaca
3
2
FT
Game Details
Mineros de Zacatecas
Dorados de Sinaloa
2
1
FT
Game Details
Santos
Monterrey
2
1
FT
Game Details
U.A.N.L
Queretaro
1
0
FT
Game Details
UNAM
Toluca
1
2
FT
Game Details
Veracruz
Chiapas
1
1
FT
Game Details
ABC
Goianiense
2
0
FT
Game Details
Boa MG
Luverdense
2
1
FT
Game Details
Bragantino
Icasa
2
1
FT
Game Details
Joinville
América Mineiro
1
1
FT
Game Details
Paraná Clube
Avaí
1
1
FT
Game Details
Vila Nova-GO
AA Ponte Preta
0
3
FT
Game Details
Ceará
América RN
2
0
FT
Game Details
Portuguesa de Desportos
Náutico
0
0
FT
Game Details
Sampaio Correa-MA
CR Vasco da Gama
2
2
FT
Game Details
Santa Cruz FC
Oeste
3
0
FT
Game Details
Vantforet Kofu
Vissel Kobe
2
0
FT
Game Details
Cerezo Osaka
Nagoya Grampus Eight
1
2
FT
Game Details
Kashiwa Reysol
Sagan Tosu
2
0
FT
Game Details
Rangers de Talca
Palestino
0
1
FT
Game Details
Universidad de Concepción
Colo Colo
3
0
FT
Game Details
Next
Jun 2, 2014

Oscar is the real key for Brazil

Oscar's creativity will be instrumental in the host nations' bid for a record sixth World Cup title.

A recent survey of Brazilian social media showed that Neymar was getting many more mentions on the Twitter-sphere than all of the rest of the Brazil team put together, including high-profile, charismatic coach Luiz Felipe Scolari.

Of total mentions, Neymar had something like 65 percent. The rest were all reduced to scraps, tiny percentages -- and well down the list of these also-rans was midfielder Oscar, which seems like a tremendous injustice.

Neymar, of course, is the undoubted poster boy of the 2014 World Cup, the young man whose individual brilliance is supposed to carry his country to victory. He is the team's most potent weapon in the last 30 metres of the field. Oscar, meanwhile, has an equally important role to play over a much wider area of the pitch. The slender build and sloping shoulders of the Chelsea youngster belie the fact that this is a player who is important to Brazil over a broad, vital range.

The Chelsea midfielder is three in one. He can drop back to pick up possession from the centre-backs and orchestrate play from deep. Higher up the field he can slip his passes through the opposing defence and put the strikers through on goal, and he can also run beyond the strikers and score the goals himself. It is this versatility that makes him so important.

Tostao, the great from Brazil's 1970 team and perhaps the brightest man ever to pull on the famous yellow shirt, laments the separation of functions that has taken place in the Brazilian midfield over the past 25 years. Much of this had to do with the premature elimination of Brazil's wonderful 1982 World Cup side, with one of the most ball-playing midfields ever assembled on a football pitch. In response, future Selecao sides decided to protect themselves, and, as Tostao wrote recently, "the midfield in Brazil was divided into the 'volantes' (defensive midfielders) who mark and the 'meias' who attack," with a consequent loss of fluidity. The ball has never moved through the team as smoothly as it did in 1982.

Oscar helped Brazil claim the 2013 Confederations Cup. Can he now help them claim the cup that really matters?
Oscar helped Brazil claim the 2013 Confederations Cup. Can he now help them claim the cup that really matters?

The organic unity of the team has been affected by this separation of midfield functions. Oscar's capacity to skip all over the pitch offers a solution to this problem, one that is likely to be especially important in a World Cup on home soil. In recent times Brazil have developed an obsession with the counter-attack. This June and July, though, most of the opponents will seek to pull men behind the ball, making it hard for Brazil to launch their favourite weapon. Passing fluidity will be vital, and Oscar is the man to supply it. Providing, of course, he is fit to do so. Oscar's late season form has been questioned, not least by his own club manager, Jose Mourinho.

Scolari has made it abundantly clear that he could hardly care less about the form of his players at club level. If the likes of Oscar, Paulinho and Neymar are being criticized, this is a concern for Chelsea, Tottenham and Barcelona, respectively. He does not have the slightest worry about the ability of these players to carry out their functions in the different, collective context of the Brazil side. But, at the end of the draining European club season, he is very concerned about the players' fitness. Will they physically be capable of operating at the level required? Oscar is a specific fear here because he has been playing so much football.

In the 2011 close season he made his name for Brazil in the Under-20 World Cup in Colombia, scoring all three goals in the final against Portugal. A year later he played in the Olympics in England, moving straight on to Chelsea without a break. And there was no opportunity to rest last year because of the Confederations Cup. Might Oscar be too jaded to perform well now that the World Cup has come around?

When the squad meet up in the hills outside Rio on May 26th, the most important man present will be Paulo Paixao, Brazil's physical preparation specialist. Twelve years ago Ronaldo was not making progress recovering from his injury with Inter Milan. Barcelona said that Rivaldo would also not be able to play in the World Cup. Paixao and his staff got them both fit. And while players from other teams who had played the European season were running on empty, the likes of Cafu and Roberto Carlos were charging up and down the flanks like men possessed.

Paixao -- and Brazil's culture of physical preparation -- played an absolutely vital role in Brazil's fifth World Cup win. The biggest contribution he can make to win number six to ensure that Oscar is firing on all cylinders between June 12th and July 13th.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.