Couple Of Arsenal Players Can’t Save England + Chamakh’s Opportunistic Goal (video)

November 18, 2010

England were booed off once again after another uninspiring performance. I don’t really care for the English football team so never feel strongly enough but they do get really boring at times.

I’m not sure if this is down to the manager or the general approach to football in England. I’d love to know what Capello truly thinks about English football. I know many people who follow the English team passionately don’t really rate the Italian as the manager but I’m not sure if the problems of the national team are entirely down to Capello and his tactics. I won’t be surprised if he thinks England have serious fundamental issues, something we’ve discussed on this blog in the past.

Once again almost everything that England created came from long balls or set-pieces. Against smaller teams this works and their defence holds firm. In this game, there were a few youngsters and some players playing out of position. That meant France were able to completely dominate the play and created some good openings. They scored two goals before the hour was up and were bored by then. After that the visitors almost stopped trying but England failed to dominate even after that. Yes, there were some balls flying around the box but that was just the hit-and-hope variant of the game.

Sometimes I wonder if the English really did invent football. I’ve a feeling they might have invented something called hoofball, which evolved into football as we know when other nations took the game seriously and added some beauty to it. With the rules being similar it is understandable why the world’s best hoofball team struggles at football.

In recent times there have been suggestions that Arsenal youngsters can make a difference for England but I’m not that convinced. Wilshere is the only one who can really change the way the English team plays but for that he will need a long run of games and the manager will have to build his team around the youngster. Others like Gibbs and Walcott, while good in their own right, will not be able to make a big impact on the national team’s style.

Theo will continue to struggle as long as his teammates are not on the same wavelength. As we saw in this game, either they held on to the ball for too long or got their pass wrong. Walcott was isolated and rendered useless for no real fault of his own.

Anyway, I was happy with the performances of Sagna, Nasri and Gibbs even though the left-back was taught a lesson or two by his senior colleague. The disappointing aspect was that both the French players played almost the full game and might be a bit tired ahead of the big NLD. We’ll need Sagna at his best in that one and I’m hoping he will not feel the strain of this game.

I’ve not heard any injury news so far and hopefully this will be a lucky day for Arsenal. I did catch the Spanish humiliation at the hands of Portugal and Cesc looked out of form, just as he has in the last few games. Van Persie had a few decent touches against Turkey and the minutes will do him good.

I did find this video of Chamakh scoring against Northern Ireland. Good to see his hard work and pressing high up the pitch getting rewarded.


Van Persie’s Performance In The Final Was Pure Class!

July 12, 2010

I understand many people might not have noticed Robin in the Final. He rarely got the ball, hardly got a chance to shoot, and wasn’t directly involved with most of threatening moments. Combined with his previous outings some might write this off as a bad tournament for our star striker.

In previous articles I wrote that Sneijder and Robben weren’t really creating much for Van Persie and his performances have been affected by the individualistic nature of the duo. Sneijder has scored five goals and Robben has had a couple of good moments so they are being regarded as the best Dutch players in the tournament, so much so that they were nominated for the Golden Ball. The facts tell a different story and one that will mostly go unnoticed.

Let’s look at the passing stats. Van Persie made 6 passes to Sneijder and he received 3 from the midfielder. He also made 4 passes to Robben and received 2. These numbers don’t include the completed passes so it’s quite likely that the number of times he received the ball from these two must be less than 5. And this is over 120 minutes of football! To put this in perspective, Villa received 10 passes from Xavi alone in 106 minutes and Xavi obviously completed most of his passes.

Interestingly, Sneijder had five shots on goal with only one on target while Robben had four with two on target. And the stats don’t have a column that says “missed sitters”. Van Persie had a Single shot that wasn’t on target. Clearly, his teammates were more interested in their own glory than finding a teammate in a better position.

From what I’ve said so far it’s probably sounding more like criticism of the two stars from the Champions League final. You might be wondering how does that make Van Persie’s performance a class act.

I say Robin was pure class because at the end of the day he ran close to 14 Km. More than anyone else in the Dutch side and  bettered only by Xavi and Iniesta. Some might scoff at that and feel that running on a football pitch doesn’t amount to a brilliant performance. But I feel if you observe the details of the game it really makes a big difference.

Firstly, most strikers would end up sulking and remonstrating on the pitch if they don’t get service. Van Persie didn’t do that.

Secondly, strikers aren’t renowned for their work rate. Normally it’s the central midfielders who do most of the running as we saw with Xavi and Iniesta. So the fact that Van Persie worked his socks off must be acknowledged and respected.

Finally, there is the importance of movement. As I’ve noted in earlier articles, the Dutch team retains possession at the back. Their keeper completed the most passes in the Final!! Robin received as many passes from Stekelenburg and Heitinga as he did from Sneijder! These are staggering facts.

Van Persie’s movement at the top allowed them to play the long balls that moved their play forward because their midfielders were focussed on kicking the opponents rather than the ball. Moreover Robben got through on goal a couple of times when he was playing down the middle. It was due to the movement by Van Persie and for the second chance it was also a direct result of a header won by the Arsenal striker.

I know these are minor details from a very big game. In itself hardly any of them would be considered significant. But when you put it all together the picture is clear. Van Persie was isolated by his glory hunting teammates but he maintained his focus and selflessly worked harder than the others to achieve a dream.

All facts being same, if Robben had converted one chance and if the Dutch had won, it is obvious that Sneijder and Robben would have been considered their star players despite their weaknesses and mistakes. Few would have noted that Sneijder’s goals had a generous dose of freak and Robben missed and messed up a lot more than he scored. Van Persie would have been considered a disappointment. Many probably think that even now.

I’m sure Van Persie knew this will be the case. Unless he scored the winning goal he wasn’t going to get much credit for his performances in this tournament. And since he wasn’t getting the ball in and around the box it was never going to happen for him. Even then he continued to run, played for his team,dropped deep, moved to the flanks, and gave his all till the last moment. I will always remember this game as the one where Van Persie played as well a striker can play football without the ball!


Fabregas Makes The Difference As Iniesta Stamps His Class

July 11, 2010

I’m delighted Spain won the World Cup. As I’ve often said in the past, along with Argentina, they are the team I most like to watch. And for once there can be no arguments the best team won the championship.

I can understand that people find the behaviour of Barcelona players and management to be despicable. Even I’ve no respect for some of the Spanish players but I try not to let that affect my judgement of their football. After all, Spain (along with Barcelona) are probably the only team that is actually winning big trophies with positive, entertaining football.

In a world where the Sith Lord of Anti-Football is seen by many as the best manager it’s always good to see real football surviving and succeeding.

With that out of the way let’s focus on the Final. I thought Spain were much better than the Dutch and deserved the victory on the balance of play. It might have been different if Robben had taken his chances but it could just as easily have been different if the ref had sent De Jong off for a Kung-Fu kick.

Leaving the ifs and buts out, it’s not difficult to see that Holland went into the game with a similar game plan that had worked for them in the tournament so far. Their hope for scoring came from set-pieces, a freak Sneijder strike or a Robben run. They never came close from the first two but Robben had a couple of glorious opportunities. The Dutchman continued his sitter-missing form and the Oranje eventually paid the price for their tactics.

Spain have been positive in the tournament but they’ve also played with caution. Starting with Alonso and Busquets has been a tactical choice that ensured they had better defensive balance. The flip side was that they found it difficult to break the well organised Dutch defence. Apart from a few half chances from set-pieces they didn’t really create much till Fabregas came on the pitch.

It was a clear decision to shift the focus from balance to attack as Alonso’s creative contribution was negligible. I’ve a feeling Del Bosque didn’t back his team to win on penalties. Spain looked a far more threatening side after Fabregas came on.

Cesc had the opportunity to put his name down in history but was thwarted by Stekelenburg when through on goal. A pass might have been a better option. He also came close with a driving run through the middle. Finally he picked up an assist with a neat little ball that set up Iniesta, who was probably the best player in the tournament.

To me it’s obvious why Guardiola wants him at Barca. It’s not to have him on the bench as a backup but as the final piece in creating an attacking juggernaut that can crush the likes of Mourinho. Among the present midfielders at Barca only Iniesta has something extra-special in the attacking third and Fabregas will clearly add to that.

Van Persie was the other Arsenal player on show and I was happy with his performance. He covered the most distance for the Dutch and put in an unselfish, hardworking display that some of his teammates must learn from. In the end RvP completed more passes than Kuyt and Robben and that shows how poor and individualistic the Dutch were in the attacking areas. You really would expect the wingers to complete more passes. I can hardly remember Van Persie getting any service in or around the box.

Further proof of their defensive tactics can be seen from the fact that once again the Keeper completed the most number of passes and he was followed by a central defender and two full backs. Sneijder is a fantastic player but his talents in the middle are quite limited compared to his Spanish counterparts. Once Robben failed to emulate Milito, Sneijder didn’t look all that good.

Mourinho was lucky in the Champions League and that made him a tactical genius. Wonder if the same will be said about Van Marwijk who used similar tactics to get to the final. From what I’ve heard so far the Dutch have been criticized for the way they’ve played. Well, the mediamen only support the winners so Holland are sure to receive some flak. They’ve would have been brilliant if they’ve won with the same tactics but losers don’t get any respect in this world. It’s a real shame that right or wrong and good or bad is based on the final result and not on the actual display on the pitch.

Finally, it’s great to see two of our best players reach the highest level at the international stage. It’s even better that almost all our players are coming back from the World Cup without serious injury worries. I guess we won’t see Fabregas or Van Persie during the early weeks of the preseason but that is an acceptable loss. Hopefully Van Persie will come back hungrier than ever and the Cesc saga will be resolved amicable and in favour of Arsenal. It’ll be good to have a World Cup winner as Captain.


Van Persie Superb, Cesc Unused As Best Teams Reach The Final

July 7, 2010

As a neutral football fan I’m quite happy that Netherlands and Spain have made it to the finals. Considering the way the tournament has shaped up I believe these are indeed the two best teams in the tournament.

I wouldn’t say either has been scintillating but both have been well balanced and effective. They’ve the players who’ve come up with the goods when the situation asked for a moment of individual class.

It’s not a surprise that one finalist is by and large the same as the amazing Barcelona team while the other has the best player from both the Champions League finalists and the best striker in the Premier League.

Speaking of Van Persie, it was good to see him finally hit some form in the Semi-Final. The first half of that game was a slow, cautious affair but the Dutch team raised their game in the second half. Van Persie was involved with most of their threatening moments as his movement, touch, vision, and intelligent passing led to some good chances. I was also impressed by his work rate and concentration even in the dying moments as he came up with an important defensive block.

From a statistical point of view RvP just got an assist in that somewhat controversial second goal by Sneijder but I’m sure his team mates, manager, and fans must’ve seen how good he was in the second half. If Robben or Van der Vaart had finished better or if Kuyt had better delivery Van Persie would have had a much bigger contribution even in a statistical sense. Hopefully, he will get some of Sneijder’s luck in the Final.

I’m going to enjoy watching Van Persie against Spain who got past a hard working German side that finally paid the price for its inexperience.

For most parts this match looked like a Barcelona V Inter Milan kind of game with Germany sitting deep and Spain struggling to break them down.

In the end, the Germans didn’t have the quality Striker or Full Back that Inter had and that meant Spain were rarely under threat. Klose has a lot of goals at the World Cup finals but is nowhere near the class of some of the other players on that list. To be honest, I’m hoping Klose doesn’t end up as the top scorer or joint top scorer at the World Cup finals. That will be a real shame.

In defence, the Germans went to sleep on a corner – something Inter would never do – and that allowed the Spaniards to sneak a goal.

Another aspect worth noting was that Ozil struggled to make any sort of an impact on the game. As I’ve said before he is a very talented player but nowhere close to being a finished article. I can’t see him coming to the Premier League and making  a difference in the big games or against tight defences, at least not this year.

Del Bosque finally accepted the fact that he had to keep Torres out of the starting eleven and I thought Pedro was a good choice as he provided them some quality on the right. I’m not sure whether Cesc missed out due to a tactical issue or injury. I’m just hoping his injury doesn’t worsen. If he doesn’t play for Spain it’s not a problem, at least for Arsenal fans.

Our best players are both in the Final of the World Cup. It could be seen as something that can give them a massive confidence boost before the next season, it could be seen as something that will leave them tired and overworked, or in many other ways – positive or negative – depending on how you feel about it. I like to think that as long as neither of them picks up an injury it will have a positive effect on our performances next season.

Before all of that though, there is this small matter of the World Cup Final. I think Spain will win it and Germany will finish third.


Dutch Delight For Brazil! Sensational Suarez Sacrifice Saves Sky-Blues

July 2, 2010

This day will probably go down as one of the most sensational in World Cup history. In any other domain apart from sport heaping such agony and heartbreak on a country/continent would probably be considered a criminal or terrorist act.

Netherlands beating Brazil was an upset of sorts but it can’t be called a shocker. Even the two hours of football that followed didn’t raise any eyebrows. It all changed in the final minute of extra-time as Ghana’s history making moment hit the bar and flew away.

Before I get into the analysis of the game I want to acknowledge a Luis Suarez moment that was perhaps the antithesis of the Hand of God!

Ghana hadn’t been a threat on set pieces at all during the two hours and I didn’t expect the final free kick to cause much trouble. Somehow, Uruguay managed to lose their discipline and the penalty box turned into a pin-ball machine. As the ball was headed towards the goal with what would most probably have been the last and winning touch, up came a Uruguayan fist and punched the ball away. And it wasn’t the goalkeeper who punched it!

Normally, Suarez would have been criticized for such an act as he was sent off and his team conceded a penalty. In this particular case though, that was the moment that changed the course of history. If ever there was a case of making your own luck, this was it. Had that ball gone in, there was no way Uruguay would have come back as the ref was on the verge of blowing for full time.

Gyan was under pressure as he took the spot kick and I’ve a feeling his attitude spoilt it for him. He went for a glorious looking blast down the middle instead of his regular style of going for the corners. As we’ve seen from his other three spot kicks in the tournament, he isn’t a bad penalty taker. It was just the pressure of the moment combined with a wrong choice.

After that it was up to Muslera to see la celeste through. Mensah’s spot kick attempt was ridiculous and the keeper saved well from the youngster Adiyiah’s kick.

Overall, I think the deserving team qualified. Ghana scored first from a freak shot from distance that the keeper misread, but they didn’t create much in normal or extra time.

Uruguay equalized from a sweetly struck, swerving free kick. They also had some other efforts on target that were saved well by the Ghana keeper Kingson.

The Black Stars have a young team and if they have the right manager they can do well in 2014.

Uruguay will take on Holland in the semi-finals. Wonder how many people predicted that before the World Cup started!?

The Dutch came back from an early setback to stun the top ranked nation. Robinho put Brazil ahead in the tenth minute when he ran onto a lovely through ball from Melo straight through the heart of the Dutch defence. Little did the Juventus man know how his luck was going to change in the course of the game.

The first half in that game was scrappy as both teams were happy to concede fouls to break up play. Brazil continued their defensive approach and looked content on sitting on their one goal lead. They did manage to create another chance when Kaka shot from distance but Stekelenburg was up to it. Holland didn’t create a single noteworthy chance in the first half.

I’d certainly like to know what Van Marwijk said to his team at half time. Holland moved the ball around faster and their movement was much better in the second half. It wasn’t a big change but at least they managed to create some pressure.

Even then Brazil looked comfortable until a moment of madness from the overrated Julio Cesar and Melo. Cesar is a very good goalkeeper but playing for Inter his aerial skills are rarely tested as the whole team defends right in front of him in the big games. In this game he flapped twice and the second one was fatal as Melo headed the ball into his own net.

After that you could see that Brazil were rattled and the Dutch were growing in confidence. The second goal came from a well executed set piece and was very similar to Van Persie’s goal against Blackburn. Only this time it was Kuyt who got the flick on and Sneijder who scored a collector’s item.

By this time Brazil had lost all composure and were quite clueless. Their misery was compounded when Melo was sent off for a petulant kick on Robben. There must be something called the Curse of the Arsenal Linked Player!

Dunga had no real choices on the bench and his ultra-defensive approach was woefully exposed. He must be wondering whether the end might have been a better fight if he had taken at least one or two flair players. Holland absorbed pressure rather well and Brazil never looked like they deserved an equalizer. If anything, the Dutch messed up a couple of great chances on the counter.

The Oranje will take on the Sky-Blues in the Semis and I’d say the Dutch are firm favourites to go through. They will miss De Jong and Van der Weil after they both picked up a second caution but Uruguay will also be without key players Fucile and Suarez. Uruguay fans can certainly hope for an upset if their team can keep Robben in check.

Tomorrow, Argentina take on Germany is a game that is sure to be a thrilling contest. I’ve a feeling the Germans will try to play on the counter attack as they did in the second half against England. The team that is clinical on the day is likely to go through. I’m supporting Argentina in that one and hopefully Messi will have another big game.

Spain should get past Paraguay without many difficulties. The South American side have done well so far but I don’t think their defence is good enough to keep the Spaniards out.

If the day is even half as dramatic as today was, it will be worth watching.


Van Persie Struggles, Argentina – Mexico Best Game So Far, Brazil Imperious

June 28, 2010

I’d great expectations from Van Persie. I thought he could be a big player at this World Cup. So far, except for the dead rubber against Cameroon, he has been rather disappointing. The Dutchman had a very poor outing against Slovakia, although in fairness, one could say that the whole Dutch team looked out of sorts. It was as if they were already thinking about Brazil and took the field only to get a formality out of the way.

They got an early goal via a Robben special and fell asleep after that. Van Persie had a few half chances but he didn’t make the most of any. Most of the Oranje possession was in defensive areas as can be seen from their passing stats. Even the Keeper Stekelenburg completed more passes than Sneijder, Kuyt, Robben or Van Persie!

Slovakia just didn’t have enough to cause an upset. Their striker Vittek had a couple of good moments but couldn’t beat the keeper until the last minute penalty. More than anything, the Italians must be wondering how they managed to lose to this Slovakian side.

The Dutch haven’t been on top form and will really struggle against Brazil if they continue in this manner. The Selecao were dismissive of the Chilean challenge. While not quite their entertaining best, Dunga’s team have managed to score a number of goals while playing some pragmatic football. They look like one of the most balanced teams in the competition and are clear favourites to reach the Final from their half of the draw. If they get past Holland they will face either Uruguay or Ghana in the Semis.

There is something about Brazil. Even when they are not playing well or aren’t dominating possession it always looks like they own the pitch. Even their defending has some class to it and the transition from defence to attack has been breathtaking at times.

I’m really hoping the Dutch get their act together; their quarter-final could turn into one of the most memorable games of all time. At times like these though, I try to keep my expectations in check. With the likes of Robben and Robinho on the pitch, it could also turn into a boring encounter if both teams are afraid of coming out. We’ve already seen that in the Brazil-Portugal game.

Talking about entertaining matches, I think the best one of the tournament so far was yesterday’s game between Argentina and Mexico. The Mexicans started brightly and were putting up a stiff challenge against their much fancied opponents. The key was their high pressing and quick ball movement.

Unfortunately for the El-Tri, they couldn’t find the finishing touch on one end and the linesman screwed them on the other. I still can’t believe how the Assistant Ref missed that off-side. If it had been a matter of inches it would have been acceptable, that kind of bad luck is part of the game. Once it’s a two yard decision the thoughts move from luck to incompetence to cheating and bribes.

To compound the Assistant’s error, those controlling the large screen showed the replays. It led to a great deal of argument and chaos on the pitch. The Mexicans lost their concentration and Osario made a fatal mistake as he lost the ball to Higuain right in front of his penalty area. It was always going to be tough to come back from a two goal deficit.

Tevez scored the third with a wonder strike and the new United recruit, Chicarito, got a consolation for the Mexicans. It was a wonderful turn and strike by the youngster and I’m looking forward to seeing him in the Premiership.

I was impressed by the way Argentina held back and defended their lead. They will need these skills and the discipline against the bigger teams as they have a tough road to the final.

I’m also enjoying the spirit of the Argentineans. They look like they are really enjoying their game and cherish being on the field, playing some attractive football. Their spirit reminds me of the Arsenal team at the start of the 07-08 Season. Let’s hope they end the tournament better than the way we ended that Season.

Maradona might have his weaknesses but he is certainly getting the best out of a talented bunch of players. Thankfully, he has also managed their egos quite well so far. The same cannot be said for some of his counterparts who’ve failed miserably.

In tomorrow’s games, Paraguay take on Japan and there is a classic in the offing as Spain clash with Portugal.

I think Japan will defend better than Paraguay and can nick it on set-pieces. There won’t be much to see or talk about in that game.

Spain’s battle with Portugal will be exciting from a tactical point of view. We can be quite sure that Carlos Queiroz will send his team out to defend and play on the counter. It’s also a given that Del Bosque will persist with the attractive style that makes Spain such a joy to watch.

Will Spain have enough to break down a resolute Portuguese defence or will Ronaldo score one on the counter? I think the key to unlock Portugal is with Fabregas. He might not start but I’m convinced he will have to play a crucial part late on if Spain are to progress. Can’t wait for that one.


Will Spain V Chile Outshine Brazil V Portugal?

June 25, 2010

Brazil V Portugal was probably The marquee game when the draw was announced. After all, it can’t get much better than the top ranked team playing the third ranked nation, can it?!

However, based on the way the tournament has turned out so far, it is difficult to imagine this one will live up to its billing. Brazil have been lacklustre even when they’ve dominated the games and Portugal need a draw to ensure qualification. In such a scenario, it’s difficult to imagine that either of these teams is going to light up the tournament with a sensational display of attacking football.

I hope I’m wrong and we get a spectacle that justifies the status of these teams but my guess is that Portugal will play on the counter. Brazil under Dunga have been, to put it politely, extremely pragmatic, so we can’t expect them to outclass a team that has gone 17 games unbeaten and have 21 clean sheets from the last 25 games. Some might say, Brazil are Brazil and they can spank anyone. I don’t have an argument against that; we’ll just have to see.

Thankfully, both teams have an incentive to top the group. They won’t know whether Spain will finish first or second (assuming they qualify) so they can’t really plan for that. It would be safe to think that the Spaniards will top the group (more on that later in the article). Moreover, if they top the group they will have a much easier path to the final. Except for the Dutch in the quarter-finals there shouldn’t be much resistance for either of these teams as they will face one of Ghana, USA, Uruguay or South Korea in the semi-finals.

I’m not trying to belittle these teams but in my honest opinion they don’t stand a chance against Brazil or Portugal. There are too many “ifs” involved here but if I was the manager of Brazil or Portugal I’d surely want to top the group. If Carlos Queiroz thinks the same then this game could actually be quite interesting.

In the other group, La Roja take on La Roja! I mean, Spain (probably La Furia Roja is more commonly used name) take on Chile who are top of the group with two wins. In the other game Switzerland take on minnows Honduras. If Span and the Swiss win all three teams will be tied on 6 points and it will come down to goal difference and goals scored.

As Chile have an attacking style of play, I think Spain will win that one with a good goal difference. I also have a feeling this game will turn out to be the most entertaining game of the first round. The South Americans have a very unique style and they will create some chances while giving Spain ample opportunities to play their game. If Spain win they will qualify as they will go above Chile on goal difference or goals scored.

The Swiss can then qualify with a win but it won’t be easy for them. There are other permutations but it doesn’t make sense in doing a comprehensive if-then-else analysis. I’d certainly like to see Spain and Chile advance.

In the earlier games from Group E, Van Persie scored and got the Man of the Match award for a good outing against the Indomitable Lions. The Dutch haven’t been in top gear but have managed three wins out of three against quality opposition.  I’m convinced they will beat Slovakia in the second round and we will have a terrific quarter-final no matter who they face from Group G or H.

Japan were the other team to qualify with a comprehensive win over Bendtner’s Denmark. The Danes had to win this one to go through and that favoured the Asian side who were happy to sit back and attack on the counter. Japan scored a couple of goals from brilliant free-kicks. It could be that the players are now getting used to the ball as we are finally seeing some wonderful goals.

I thought Sorenson was at fault for both goals. Taking nothing away from the strikes, the keeper moved prematurely on the first one and got his wall wrong for the second. He left a gap for the right footed player to exploit and had the shorter players on the far side. The wall should have been further to his left and he should have had his big men on that side to create a bigger challenge for the right footed free kick. If Honda took it left footed or the right footed player went central, then Sorenson would have had a better chance of saving it. Of course this is just my opinion based on some observations and common sense and I’m not a qualified coach so I could be completely wrong.

Japan have been surprisingly good I must say. They have done really well on set-pieces at both ends of the pitch, especially against physically bigger and stronger opponents. They’ve also maintained their organization and worked really hard without losing focus.

On one side we’ve seen teams like France and Italy who have underperformed miserably and on the other there are those like Japan and Uruguay who have outdone all expectations. I really like it when some of the unheralded sides do well as I have a tendency to support the underdogs when I’m watching as a neutral. That is also the reason I’m backing Chile to entertain us more than Brazil or Portugal!