With squads for the 2014 World Cup being unveiled on an almost-hourly basis this week, excitement for the tournament is understandably building to fever pitch. By now, all of the favourites – plus England – have shown their hands, even if most have opted to name 30 players at this stage, delaying the announcement of the final 23.
While it is a time of excitement for many players, others are being forced to deal with the disappointment of missing out. Those who went off the boil this season (Roberto Soldado), were unable to maintain their form for longer than a couple of months (Andros Townsend, also injured) or found their progress hampered by injury (Sandro – there seems to be a pattern emerging here...) will have to make do with a summer holiday and a few hundred hours glued to their televisions.
Luiz Felipe Scolari broke his fair share of hearts upon announcing his squad last week. For every veteran like Ronaldinho who was never genuinely in the running, there were two or three whose frustration was entirely justified.
Yet as Brazilians pored over and dissected Scolari's 23 (Tom Jobim once remarked that Brazil has 150 million national team coaches), one group of players was notable by its absence from the debate.
Read this blog, on the fading hopes of Brazil's Olympic generation, here.