Sorry, Not Sorry Brazil

Brazil it’s not us, it’s you. You are incredibly boring to watch and your players just aren’t as good as they used to be.

Most of us have been in denial about the footballing crisis sweeping Brazil, not least because of the problems we as England fans have endured over the last few years/many years (depending on how old you are), but the decline of the Brazilian national team has been even more heartbreaking to watch. I use the word ‘heartbreaking’ because our attachment to Brazil is a sentimental one, well mine is anyway. Most of us aren’t Brazilian, in fact only about 4% of the world are. I digress, but my point being that most of aren’t Brazilian but when we watched them play we ALL BECAME FANS (unless you’re Argentinian of course).

My blogging name ‘Barzino’ is even inspired by a Brazilian, my favourite player Ronaldinho. I’m sure you get the message by now, I’m a big Brazil fan!

 

My first memories of football are watching the  Brazil team win the 2002 World Cup. The passing, the dribbling, the trickery… all breathtaking.

Fast forward to 2016 and we have a very different Brazil. Well, actually we need to go back to the 2014 World Cup – The scene of the darkest moment in Brazilian football history.

Leading up to the tournament there were doubts over whether Brazil’s shaky defence could hold it together be able to hold it together against top quality opposition, even after their 3-0 victory over Spain in the Confederations Cup we still weren’t convinced.

Even though everyone told me Brazil wouldn’t/couldn’t win it I kept saying  ‘nah, don’t worry they’ll get their act together’, or ‘It’s a home World Cup, no way they won’t be ready by then’. Did I really believe any of this to be the case? Not really, but I really hoped so! As we all know by now I was very wrong.

 

To make a long story short Brazil went onto lose 7-1 to Germany in the semi-finals. Just let that sink in… 7-1. The WORST defeat in their 102 year history. Neymar was Injured, their captain Thiago Silva was suspended and the rest of the players were mediocre at best. Does that justify a 7-1 defeat? Hell no! The loss wasn’t what got to me, losing to a well fancied Germany was something I could take, but the manner of the defeat was just disgraceful.

Back To The Drawing Board. After the embarrassment of getting battered on home soil at the hand of the Germans the Brazilian’s decided to start all over again, dropping everyone from the players to the manager right through to the groundsman. This is where they have consistently gone wrong.

Brazil have a history of scapegoating and exiling their players after defeats at major tournaments.

 

Brazil were 1-0 up against the Netherlands in the 2010 World Cup before Felipe Melo scored an own goal and got sent off, the game ended 2-1 to the Netherlands and Melo hasn’t played for Brazil since.

 

Although there’s no denying that there were players who deserved to be dropped after (if not before) the World Cup, there are also those who still had a lot to offer the team, whether it be with ability or experience (e.g. Thiago Silva). The problem is that many of these players are dropped with little or no foresight about the effect their absence will have on the team. Brazil changed too fast. In doing so they lost the link between previous generations of success.

Italy kept Pirlo, Germany Kept, Miroslav Klose, Spain kept Casillas, Brazil dropped everyone. 

Some say that the current crop of Brazilian players just aren’t as good as they once, but come to think of it who is as good as Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Rivaldo in modern football?

 

rivaldo-ronaldo-ronaldinho.jpg

However, they have had some extremely talented players over the years. Players like Alexander Pato, Leandro Damiao and Lucas Moura could have gone on to be big stars for the national team, but without senior players in the squad to help guide them and help them adapt to the pressures of representing ‘The Selecao’, they all fell by the wayside.

What Brazil should have done is keep the experienced core of their squad and then slowly phase them out to make space for emerging young talent (using them in friendly matches, substitute appearances, etc) – allowing them to shake things up without necessarily having to undo all of their hard work.

 

INSTEAD they decided to do it the other way around. Scrapping the whole team and replacing them with youngsters and then phasing in/recalling older players like Ronaldinho and Kaka. It didn’t work.

Now onto the Copa America(s). This was the final straw for me, I can’t keep making excuses for this uninspired side. The previous Copa America in 2015 saw Brazil eliminated from the competition on penalties, even though the team performed quite poorly overall during the tournament, penalties are about luck and Brazil were unlucky.

If last year’s Copa America was bad, this year’s was terrible. Yesterday Brazil crashed out in the group stages for only the second time in their history. The only sliver lining was that they scored 7 goals… all of those were against Haiti. There other two games in the group were a 0-0 draw with Ecuador and a controversial 1-0 defeat against Peru.

Since then their manager Dunga has been sacked AGAIN and all signs point towards the cycle of failure restarting…

Struggling to qualify for the World Cup. Brazil currently lie in 6th place in the South American qualifying stages and with only the top 4 teams guaranteed qualification, Brazil face missing out on the World Cup finals for first time in their history. Never before have Brazil failed to qualify for a World Cup, but with the current state of Brazilian football, qualification is looking less and less likely with each passing game…

What was once a formality has now become the biggest footballing challenge in the nation’s history.

 

This summer Brazil will be aiming to right the wrongs of the last decade and win the on the greatest stage of them all… the Olympic Games. With this year’s Games being hosted in Brazil, the task now rests on the shoulders of Brazil’s U23 squad to secure the football gold medal on home soil – the only prize that has eluded them thus far.

If Brazil’s youngsters manage to win the tournament in Rio it could go a long way towards restoring the pride of a once great footballing nation.

But until then…

Sorry, Not Sorry Brazil.

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