The Reality of Brazil vs Spain
If you’ve played the game long enough you might have heard someone say, “The best team doesn’t always win.” As a Brazilian I must say, “Thank God for that!” I haven’t seen a good agreeable Brazil team or game since 2009/2010. Fast forward to this years Confederations Cup I saw glimpses of what to expect in 2014 and the future of the Seleção. Brazil dominated for periods of the matchs against Italy and Mexico, which showed huge progress in the right direction. But they lost concentration and Italy and Mexico came back scoring goals and even taking possession of the ball for long periods. It seemed as though the Seleção would play amazing for two minutes then become completely lost for 20 minutes. I saw bad passing, and players completely lost on the field. The game against Spain was different. Brazil played like champions.
Let’s not fool ourselves, Spain has the best team in the world. However, on the day of the Confederations Cup Final, that particular game, Brazil was the better team. I must say that I’m surprised at the level and tempo the Seleção was able to play. They were almost perfect. The Seleção played with the equivalent spirit and adrenaline of thousands of protesters that subsequently were chanting in the streets for a better future of the country. On the pitch Brazil went to war, against all nay sayers. The uprising couldn’t have been told better if written in fabled stories by acclaimed authors. The message was clear. “We might not have the best team in the world, but we are Brazil. The five stars on our shirt isn’t by coincidence.” Brazil has maintained a winning tradition for the past 50 years. So no matter how good Spain is currently, and their current dynasty, they must respect the “Five Stars.” The question is, “has the giant really awaken,” are the “champions back?”
A lot of foreign press talk about the “Jogo Bonito” or “Samba Football.” They say the current Brazilian team doesn’t incorporate “jogo bonito.” These are catch phrases that seem to have been reused time and time again. I think these phrases are more in tune with the Brazilian lifestyle, love for the game and less to do with our football. The reality is, Brazil is a team focused on winning at all cost. The “Samba Football or Jogo Bonito” has been long gone since the 1960’s. For a brief time during the 1980s Brazil created arguably the best creative team the world has ever seen, and while we enjoyed a sort of “jogo bonito” we did not win. The failure to win in the 1980s undoubtably stopped all possible future resurgences of “jogo bonito” or “tick tack Brazilian style football.”(You might want to read, “Is Barcelona that Good or Everyone that Bad?) Brazil wins games period, and they win games for the millions of struggling Brazilians living in difficult conditions. The Seleção is all we have, and the players know how important they are to the Brazilian People. My friend, Andre Couto, best summarized Brazil’s victory on Sunday by saying, “Spain has soccer in their heads and feet, we have soccer in our heart and blood.”
“Spain has soccer in their heads and feet,
we have soccer in our heart and blood.”
I do somewhat agree with Andre; however, I am also a realist. Spain continues to be the best team in the world. It is impossible for Brazil to play with such intensity all the time, so the odds of Brazil beating Spain in such a dominant fashion a second time, is low. Brazil has a lot of work to do before they become what they once were. Brazil is known as a soccer nation so they have a lot live up to. They need to fix many issues with the Seleção, academies and club teams, so that Brazil in general continue to be number one for years to come. I am not enchanted and wide eyed in believing “Brazil is back” or as good as past Brazilian squads.
The mysticism that Brazilians relate to the Seleção is in many instances unrealistic and is similar to their over exaggerated, spirited and alchemy “Novelas.” A sort of hocus pocus spirit world where the “True Good” always finds the righteous path, many times through divine inspiration. I understand the euphoria; it’s a euphoria brought about by fans driven in part by a glorious soccer history. I am also in glee, but my happiness is different than most. I am happy, that after almost five years I have finally watched a “Brazil Game” where I can say, “I am proud.” Even if Brazil had lost the game I would have been proud. I am now optimistic not because (as many believe) Brazil is a good team or as brilliant as they were in the past, but optimistic that we can overcome this drought and once again become the team to beat.
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