Monday, 1 July 2013

How Brazil got their groove back

There were tears rolling down cheeks in Rio de Janeiro last night and for once it wasn’t because of the tear gas. (Although in some streets outside the Maracanã it definitely was.) Fireworks were launched into the air in celebration rather than aimed at military police. Brazil has been an intriguing and chaotic place to be in the last two weeks but there was a sense last night that things were returning to something like normal.

It was the final everyone wanted to see. Brazil had not played Spain since 1999 and you had to go all the way back to 1986 for the last competitive meeting. Brazil had been the elephant in the room during La Roja’s ascent to international football’s top table; if there was plenty of admiration for Xavi et al, there was also an unspoken feeling of, well, they’ve yet to do it against us.

Read the rest of this article, on Brazil's Confederations Cup triumph, on the Mirror website.

(Image: Getty.)


  1. Hi. Brazil certainly seem to have taken to the pressing game, so superbly exemplified in the first half of Spain's match against Uruguay. If I'm not mistaken, this was a tactic that Mano Menezes tried to introduce and Scolari seems to have married it to the team spirit that you mention he is famed for building.

    Given that one of Menezes's goals was to build a Brazil team in the possession-adoring image of some of the great sides of the country's past, do you think that a squad built in Scolari's image--his willingness to adopt other coaches' ideas notwithstanding--will ultimately satisfy those who dream of seeing a Brazilian team play in the way that, rightly or wrongly, as come to be associated with Brazilian teams? Given that Menezes finally had seemed to be hitting on the right formula--and had even managed to reintegrate a supposedly spent Kaká successfully into the squad--before his unceremonious dismissal, it seems that the Brazil's FA might have let him go prematurely.

    I know that this might seem an odd point of view to take after Brazil's Confederations' Cup victory, but do you think that Scolari's unflappable commitment to pragmatism, while it clearly leads to the sort of football that yields results, may not be the best decision for the immediate future of the image of beautiful football that many seemed to yearn for a return to?

    Or has Scolari successfully redefined the terms of the style debate?


  2. Thanks for the reply.

    I think you're right to say that Scolari's pragmatism isn't ideal if Brazil want to reproduce the jogo bonito of the past.

    But while many people understandably yearn for the good old days, the wider progress of football in Brazil tends to be put on the back burner when tournaments come around. This is especially true of 2014; I didn't agree with the sacking of Menezes but it certainly looks like the Scolari effect will give Brazil a better chance of winning than they would have had under Mano.

    Maybe after the pressure of 2014 has passed we may see some deeper structural improvements to the game in Brazil. (Although the tragicomic administrators of the game in the country will continue to impede that progress.)

  3. A really great article, here is my own review of this year's Confederations Cup:

  4. Finally, Kaka back in Brazil Squad for the Asian Tour vs Japan and Argentina... Will him best of luck