Brazil Deserves a Participation Trophy : World Cup 2014
July 9th, 2014 will go down in history. Contrary to belief this game is not necessarily historic for the 1-7 loss and it’s not necessarily historic because Brazil played terrible. This game is historic for what it symbolizes. This game is historic for exemplifying a parody we see so many times through history, the collapse and debacle of an empire.
I have been one of the biggest critics of Brazilian soccer the past seven years. When Brazil beat Spain during the Confederations Cup I warned that, “The Seleção is still below average.” I have written about the “Dark Ages of Brazilian Soccer,” where I criticize the squad and players. Lastly, I have criticized the soccer academies in Brazil and posed the question “Is FC Barcelona that good or is everyone that bad?” However, I never thought I would witness the catastrophe of Brazil vs Germany.
“Will Columbia be the new benchmark
of technically gifted players?”
It has taken me a few days to conceptualize and rationalize what happened during the Brazil vs Germany game. My body tries to push the memories of the game to the dark corners of my cerebrum. Ironically, I keep trying to analyze the game almost reliving the trauma over and over again. This loss does not only affect the players of the Seleção, but the entire Brazilian nation. Brazil’s clout and point of reference when saying, “I’m a Brazilian and play soccer,” is diluted. As soccer players, trainers and coaches their influence is now somewhat diminished. We (as Brazilians) no longer will be seen as differential in the world of soccer. Most of all the value of future generations has been discredited.
The Decay of Brazilian Soccer
The decay of Brazilian soccer has been evident for many years. It seems to be a reflection of the Brazilian government and infrastructure. The Brazilian Soccer Federation seems functional for those on the outside looking in. Brazil is able to produce and sell players at an alarming rate. We even produce a superstar every once and a while, a Neymar.
The problem happens when you look at it from the inside. The Brazilian Soccer infrastructure, objectives and goals are not what it once was. We are victims of our own soccer history and casualties of our disastrous governmental inefficiencies.
Our inadequate government has created a vacuum to where the functionalities of soccer are in direct parallel to every business in Brazil. The soccer infrastructure is now built on corruption, greed and disregard. This is the same way the government administers itself, which in-turn generates the characteristics of business owners, soccer clubs, agents and everyday citizens. Brazil doesn’t create “Brazilian Players.” Corrupt businessmen and agents now create soccer players for sale at any cost. The fabric of the sport is ingrained in our infrastructure and it is becoming apparent that our inadequate infrastructure is dictating the sports outcome. We must rebuild.
Gone are the days of soccer romanticism, which we lived in the 20th century. This defeat to Germany stands as a historical bookmark symbolizing an end of an era; just like every empire before us, from Rome to the Ottoman Empire. We didn’t realize the end was near until it was too late. Maybe it was our passion or pride that kept us believing. During the World Cup, Brazilians in the street said, “We will win the World Cup in Brazil, how can we lose, we have the entire nation supporting the team.” This shows an over abundance of confidence and emotion, based on a history that died years ago. A confidence unfortunately the Brazilian players believed.
This World Cup is one of the best in history because the gaps of “top quality” have been diminished by Brazil’s inability to produce several superstars on one team. In other words, every nation has produced competitive technically gifted squads. Every game was exciting to watch. Every game was balanced and without a certain winner. It was wonderful to see Costa Rica, Chile and USA improve their team quality. However, I continue to ponder the lack of “exceptional quality” in the world of international soccer. Where has the world’s number “nine’s” gone? There is a huge disparity of great Brazilian technical superstars, therefore there’s a decline in exceptionalism in international soccer.
Brazil Had an Abundance of Quality
Quality Brazilian players were the benchmark of greatness. If that benchmark is gone, who will carry the torch? Players from other nations no longer have a measuring point of their greatness. With the globalization of the world, other countries have gotten better. On the other hand Brazil has corroded. I ask, “Will we witness in the next twenty-years the United States, Chile and Colombia become superior?” Many countries have created immortals of the game like Zidane and Messi, but Brazil was known for having many amazing top quality players every generation. “Will Columbia be the new benchmark of technically gifted players?” Will they start creating an abundance of technically gifted players while Brazil produces one every ten or fifteen years?
Brazil has only created one superstar in the last ten years, Neymar. Usually Brazil has several superstars, not to mention several technically gifted players. Take for example the Brazilian squad in 2002; Brazil had Denilson, Luizao, Edilson, Ricardinho, Vampeta and Juninho on the bench. These guys were extremely skilled and technical. In the past we had progressive managers and coaches. The Brazilian managers were always advancing new strategies, formations and tactics. The tactics were different from the Europeans yet progressive. Brazilian managers have now become second-rate citizens, frozen in time and disorientated because they no longer have superstars to save them from inferior tactics.
Future of Quality Soccer Players
With all do respect to our current Seleção and it’s players. They were not prepared for this. They deserve success in their careers, but many of them are not the quality we are used to. There was a time when Brazil created players called Romario. Romario let everyone know, “He is the man.” (view clip to the left at 3:01)
Today, we have David Luiz, who in a gesture of solidarity with James of Columbia tells the crowd, “James is the man!” In an act almost distinctive of Brazil passing the torch to a team soon to pass us in the world of international soccer.
Roberto Avey is an ex-soccer player from Brazil. Club, Associação Atlética Ponte Preta in Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil, 1995-1998 under coach, Francisco da Silva Júnior “Chiquinho." He has since graduated from Midwestern State University in Texas, with a bachelor degree in journalism and helps coach teams in Southern California. Read more