Joga Bonito may hardly be synonymous with defensive chastity, but a stingy rearguard could well end up underpinning Brazil’s attempts to justify 10/3 World Cup 2014 betting favouritism on home soil if AS Roma’s stunning start to the Italian top-flight campaign is anything to go by.
Roma have conceded just one goal in their first eight games of 2013/14 campaign.
In has come new broom Rudi Garcia and out has been swept all the defensive weakness that accompanied the Giallorossi’s do-or-die attacking style under Zdenek Zeman.
Two Brazilians have played major parts in the back four that has established such a vice-like grip on Italy’s attackers, with centre-half Leandro Castan ever-present and Manchester City failure Maicon making six starts.
Given the latter wasn’t at Stadio Olimpico last year while Castan played just seven times for Roma both men have clearly made a positive impact.
Maicon and Castan are currently far from guaranteed to make the Brazil squad.
Just two of the former’s 70 caps have come this season and his club colleague has featured just once more for his country since making his debut in a friendly against Japan in October 2012.
That two members of such a formidable rearguard are as yet failing to get anywhere near first-choice status in Luiz Felipe Scolari’s squad speaks volumes for the confidence that the World Cup-winning puppet-master has in the likes of Dani Alves, Thiago Silva and David Luiz.
The Selecao have conceded more than a single goal in only one of their last 11 outings.
Brazil’s defence has been operating parsimoniously for some time now, with seven clean sheets coming during the 11-match spell that began with their final friendly before the Confederations Cup.
During the tournament in Brazil they shut out opposition including world and European champions Spain in three of their five games en route to lifting the trophy.