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The End of the Brazilian Fantasy

July 8, 2014

 

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“The magic is over.”

Parreira said that in 1994, when he led a highly mediocre, and defensively “unBrazilian” Brazil to World Cup glory in the United States.

Nobody took the statement that seriously then, as four years later Brazil had managed to produce a new dazzling, vintage squad – and a new talisman in Ronaldo – reaching the 1998 final and winning ultimate glory once again in 2002.

The Brazil of Jogo Bonito and bombastic football folklore, for all intents and purposes, still pulsated, alive and well.

But then Ronaldo’s brilliant generation retired, and the team underperformed in 2006 and 2010 (then, with a highly defensive, rustic side led by hard-man Dunga); surely, mere glitches; technical, minor mistakes to be corrected at the highly anticipated “Copa das Copas” (THE World Cup), on home soil, in 2014…

For the most part, Brazilians were sure that all would be fixed this year. Scolari, a highly respected figure, was back in charge, and Brazil had produced yet again another talismanic character: Neymar.

The path to the biggest prize in the world of football had been, relatively speaking, smoothly paved.

The political protests that took over the streets last year hadn’t really affected Scolari’s footbal revolution; in fact, they had given his team hopeful fire: a bombastic victory against Spain at the 2013 Confederations Cup final was the announcement that Brazil’s beautiful game had returned home. Surely, now, Brazil would show the planet that the game was theirs; that they were, indeed, the spiritual home of the beautiful game.

Alas.

The 2014 World Cup had already exposed the dirty inner workings of FIFA, the corruption and brutal spendings of public money. But no one expected it would reveal, to the entire world, that Brazilian football was, de facto, a walking corpse.

Indeed, Brazil were never convincing at this tournament as potential champions, despite making into the semi-finals. The squad showed little tactical brains, and way too much heart – a volatile, angry, petty heart, determined to win at all costs; even if it meant throwing away their legacy of free-flow, carefree football.

The emblematic face of this Brazil, the face of death, will inevitably become Fred. The astonishingly mediocre striker will be immortalized as the symbol of utter failure – Brazil’s worst World Cup defeat in history.

Truthfully, Brazil were lucky to have made it this far. Chile could have easily taken them out quite early in the tournament. And after 5 games of incredibly anxious and inconsistent football, Brazil were ousted by a truly brilliant, magical, imperial (and merciful) German side.

It could have easily been 10 x 0.

Brazil had only one plan for this semi-final match against Germany at the Mineirao Stadium: to score early in the game, and then to hold on to that result for dear life, displaying that same anxiety previously witnessed in the tournament.

But the first goal was German. And the second. And a third, fourth…

Within 25 minutes, the dream was over.

The psychological collapse was tragically Shakespearean in proportion. It was historical.

The final score of 7-1 punctured a colossal hole into the fabric of the football universe.

Brazil’s dreams had been exposed as mere fantasy.

The reality of this, the greatest and most exciting and controversial of World Cups in recent decades, is one of the exposure of the realities of the game.

And in the end, the discipline, hard-work and class that are so evidently the very structure of how football is administrated in Germany won.

The ‘Maracanazo’ ghost of 1950, when Brazil tragically lost the World Cup final against Uruguay at Rio’s Maracana Stadium, haunts on.

Brazil, the country, and its football, remain a fantasy.

A dream.

Only now, the dream has become a nightmare.

Welcome to the post-Mineiraço Era.

 

 

RB.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Meshal Sinnen permalink
    July 9, 2014 7:20 am

    I am a Sri Lankan who has followed Brazil since 1996; when I first saw a Brazilian team playing beach football on live TV. It was during the emergence of Ronaldo, and I was lucky to be in Saudi Arabia at the time, a football mad nation in itself.

    The way the Brazil team played back then was dazzling; not least due to the efforts of Ronaldo, Romario, Rivaldo and Bebeto. The 1998 final hurt like hell, but it felt like an aberration. In 2002, I was over the moon.

    But I can’t help but agree with you here. The rot set in way back somewhere between 2002 and 2006, and Brazil have never really recovered. The Dunga led team in 2010 was miles ahead of this one this year; except that I really believed Brazil would go all the way from inspiration.

    I am not Brazilian and cannot vouch for the culture in your country that dictates why Ronaldo did not play until 2010 when he should have. Or why Kaka, Robinho and Ronaldinho had declined to extent that they could not be considered for this world cup. These were match winners and you could tell with one glance at how they played football.

    Brazil does not have that anymore. Much is made of Neymar, but he simply isn’t there yet. The flash and brilliance of Brazil was on display in 2010 at least a little bit, but it was missing in this team. While the loss is harsh, I hope this will result in positives for Brazil. That they will inspired to get over the hurt and prove to the world that they are the best. Like Ronaldo did in 2002.

    Because without a brilliant Brazil, football is not football.

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