Melville Menezes

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The most iconic team in the history of football was the famous Brazil World Cup Squad of 2002. Let’s discuss the formation that led Brazil to lift World Cup 2002

Worldwide known faces of Ronaldo, Ronaldinho Rivaldo, Roberto Carlos, Cafu, Silva, Lucio and every other player of Brazil Nationals was a star. They were the perfect team in this World Cup and it was about a matter of time to win the finals to lift their fifth World Cup. The road to finals was difficult but to this squad, it was just the opposite.

The Brazil team of ’98 was favourites to win with their most famous GINGA style. Their World Cup campaign was very impressive however the fate to win the World Cup was with France. Throughout the ’98 squad, Brazil’s coach Mário Jorge Lobo Zagallo followed a 4-2-2-2 formation with players narrowing ground at the back and spacing ahead to attack.

Formation of Brazil National team 1998
(France vs Brazil 1998) 

In 2002, the Brazil National coach Luiz Felipe Scolari had a different perspective. He chose a formation that fits His player’s potential and ability. Many managers have used 3-4-1-2 formation in the past. However, after the ’02 World Cup (thanks to Brazil), it came to the limelight as one of the favourite formation of all time for years to come.

Formation of Brazil National team 2002
 (Germany vs Brazil 2002 Finals)


The 3-4-1-2 formation was not only tactically right but was a perfect combination. With that, the players gave their highest potential outcome and went for the win. The formation is to create chances while not losing the team’s defence.

The defenders made a wall right in the centre keeping away the attacks and possible through balls with strong defensive players. The highest possibility to score against them was only by crosses. Here, Edmilson could control ball possession while he has space right ahead of him.

The four midfielders (including Carlos and Cafu) were the key to the team’s overall performance. They covered from left to right, tackled and won ball possession. Also attacked and defended, created chances and controlled the whole game.

Roberto Carlos and Cafu had the quality to attack and defend thus giving a possible counter-attack by providing crosses from both ends. Carlos and Cafu while defending used to create 5-3-2 or 5-2-1-2 formation with 5 defenders at back giving more time for defence and clearing with a counter-attack with Ronaldinho joining midfielders.

Ronaldinho’s ability to create chances was admirable. His link with the front two Rivaldo and Ronaldo was exceptional. The CAM (Centre Attacking Mid) is for attacking, creating chances and providing alternative options to score and no one could have been better than Ronaldinho, he was the perfect player for that position. (Zidane could have been the other option if he was in Brazil Team)

The front duo, Ronaldo and Rivaldo were goal machines. They were at their prime and had every skill to convert a chance to a goal. These were supported by Ronaldinho who created a minimum of six to seven chances per half.


No doubt 3-4-1-2 is one of the best formations, however, modern football has evolved. Every manager has his own favourite formation and tactics. The modern football teams use 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 formation with constant three defenders and attacking midfielders to the alternative old version formation of 3-4-1-2.

Although the game has changed, the passion has always been the same in the Brazilian Team. With chants of “OLE OLE” in the crowd or witnessing the famous Ginga Style (now that has lost).

The last time I saw a formation in modern football was Liverpool against Norwich when Countinho played in as CAM. For fan 3-4-1-2 will always be BRAZIL of ’02. 

Do let me know your feedbacks also your favorite formation in the comments section. Check more blogs here


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Melville Menezes | Co-Founder Unfiltered Entreprise | Student | Blogger |