World Cup 2014: The journey of host nation, Brazil in World Cups




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Chennai: If you don’t think “football” immediately upon hearing “Brazil”, you must be from Mars. Brazil and the beautiful game are synonymous in the collective conscience people all over the world. Fans may be bitterly divided over club loyalties throughout their lives but they don’t mind joining hands in support of the Selecao when the World Cup comes around every four years.

Brazil’ record at the World Cup should have turned neutrals against them because success begets hatred in sports. New York Yankees, LA Lakers, and Real Madrid evoke as much antipathy as support. In normal course, many fans must be following Brazil in anticipation of seeing them fail. But Brazil are a glorious exception as likeable overdogs, a rarity in any sport. Fans whose countries will be at the World Cup usually have two teams to support, their teams and Brazil after their teams exit.

Brazil may owe their mythical status in international football to the national team’s dazzling show at the 1970 World Cup. It helped Brazil’s cause that their most captivating performance coincided with the explosion of global colour television market. People were able to devour the brilliance of Carlos Alberto’s team in all its glory from their living rooms.

It’s difficult to fall for the elegance of Brazil’s after watching their fourth goal in the 1970 final against Italy. The goal combined the essence of teamwork and individual brilliance. Words can’t do justice to the way Pele rolled the final ball on to the path of Alberto to blast home. It was such a perfect pass in weight and timing that nobody could have done better with his hands.

Pele may have played equally well in his first World Cup 12 years earlier but his coruscating show was only for an exclusive audience. Football had widened its horizons immeasurably by the time Mexico first staged the Cup. Brazil wouldn’t another World Cup in the next 24 years.

Paradoxically, however, it was the barren period that brought the country and its footballers closer to the masses. No winning team played football that was more pleasing to the eye than the losers from Brazil in 1982 and 1986.

The idealist , Tele Santana, allowed his boys to express themselves and express they did to bewitch the watching world. Winning was incidental to the football of Falcao, Eder, Socrates and Zico. There was a sense of amateurism in Brazil’s performance at the altar of professionalism just like Garrincha had played his game in 1958 and 1962.

The Brazilian team of 1994 were not a patch on their illustrious predecessors but they won the trophy after one of the mind-numbing goalless draws in World Cup history. Even Brazil’s philosophy has to be in tune with changing times. Even though the exuberance of Brazilian football has been dimming.

For that, the credit should go to the 1970 team that combined style and results and the team in the 80s that took up an art for art’s sake. Bravura performances involving shimmies, selling dummies and step-overs once defined Brazilian football. Old habits die hard. Neymar may still be able to bring a fan to the edge of his/her seat with a trick or two but he would be more worried about scoring a goal. His coach Luiz Felipe Brazil have an obligation to win to exorcise the ghost of the Maracana. Entertainment can wait. (Deccan Chronicle) ————————————————————————————————

Chennai: If you don’t think “football” immediately upon hearing “Brazil”, you must be from Mars. Brazil and the beautiful game are synonymous in the collective conscience of people all over the world. Fans may be bitterly divided over club loyalties throughout their lives but they don’t mind joining hands in support of the Selecao when the World Cup comes around every four years.

Brazil’s record at the World Cup should have turned neutrals against them because success begets hatred in sports. New York Yankees, LA Lakers, Manchester United and Real Madrid evoke as much antipathy as support. In normal course, many fans must be following Brazil in anticipation of seeing them fail. But Brazil are a glorious exception as likeable overdogs, a rarity in any sport. Fans whose countries will be at the World Cup usually have two teams to support, their teams and Brazil after their teams exit.