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Last Updated: Monday, 4 April, 2005, 08:43 GMT 09:43 UK
Brazil strike on new system
By Tim Vickery

Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira
Brazil coach Parreira is aiming for more World Cup glory
Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira is not usually seen as the adventurous type.

When he is putting a side together his favourite word is balance - a concept well-demonstrated by his 1994 World Cup-winning team.

Then his midfield anchormen Dunga and Mauro Silva sat in front of the centre-backs, protecting the defence from opposing counter-attacks.

It is precisely because of Parreira's cautious reputation that his tinkerings with the team in last week's World Cup qualifiers are so interesting.

Last year he was working within the framework of a 4-3-1-2 system.

The two strikers - Ronaldinho Gaucho and Ronaldo - were supported by the bursts into the box of attacking midfielder Kaka.

On paper it looked a fantastic front three. On the pitch the results seldom lived up to expectations.

It seems that last November's 1-0 defeat to Ecuador awoke in Parreira a desire to experiment.

"The tactical system of the national team is not set in stone," he said last week.

"For a while 4-3-1-2 was good but I think we need at least three tactical variations and now we could get better results from playing two centre-forwards."

Brazil striker Ronaldinho
Ronaldinho is free to roam
He edged halfway towards a new system in the home match against Peru and then bravely went all the way against Uruguay in Montevideo.

Ricardo Oliveira came in to partner Ronaldo up front, with both Kaka and Ronaldinho Gaucho dropping back to midfield.

After a thrilling 1-1 draw, Parreira was happy with what he had seen.

His new adventurous team had shown "quality on all sides and in all sectors".

Dropping deeper had certainly been good for Ronaldinho.

"It was his best game for Brazil under my command," said Parreira, while the player was happy with the freedom he had been given.

"I've had other good performances but the difference this time was one of intensity," he said. "I had an active participation throughout the 90 minutes."

The new scheme was not so favourable for Kaka.

Moving the AC Milan starlet to the right side of midfield forced him further away from the zone where he does his best work, the edge of the opposing penalty area.

He also had to work overtime to make sure that the two marking midfielders, Emerson and Ze Roberto, were not overrun.

Inter Milan and Brazil striker Adriano
Striker Adriano's ariel threat could be called upon

But in return for sacrificing some of the best characteristics of Kaka, Parreira has opened the path for the inclusion of Adriano in the starting line-up.

The awesomely-strong Inter Milan striker missed the Peru and Uruguay games through injury.

It seems clear, though, that the place filled by Ricardo Oliveira against the Uruguayans is meant for him.

A few months ago the idea of playing Ronaldinho and Kaka, plus Ronaldo and Adriano together seemed unthinkable.

Adriano was a luxury reserve. So what has changed?

The main development would appear to be that Parreira has decided that, especially against ultra-defensive sides, Brazil need the aerial threat and penalty-area presence that Adriano can supply.

It also means that Ronaldo had better watch out.

Parreira is coming under heavy fire in Brazil for being over-protective of the Real Madrid striker, whose form has suffered a dip.

If in the run-up to the World Cup Parreira decides that the twin centre-forward system is destroying his precious balance and leaving his side too exposed, he could yield to the pressure.

And Ronaldo could be the member of the magic four to miss out.

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