- 1 The Downfall Of Seleção : Is this End Of Samba Football?
- 2 Second Spell of Dunga
- 3 Fall Again
The Seleção which used to mesmerize people all over the world irrespective of age and continent with their skills, flair and legacy now seems a distinct past in the pages of football history. Brazilian team has had its ups and down through the years but the present team only earns pity from the football lovers. Brazil won their last World Cup only 13 years ago and Copa America title eight years ago. The present team does not look anywhere near those teams, forget the glorious Seleção. So what are the reason for this awful downfall? Was it change of playing style or decrease in quality of players or tactics of managers or everything altogether? From the last decade Brazilian players started to go to Europe earlier in their careers, even as teenagers, does that affected their skills, flair and commitment in Seleção colors? Let’s find out altogether.
The Downfall Of Seleção : Is this End Of Samba Football?
Tele Santana’s Brazil 1982
Attracting football with skills, one touch passing and flair were key ingredients of Brazilian football something that decreased after that Jogo Bonito of Tele Santana. The team managed by Tele Santana consisted of all time biggest superstars of Brazilian football, the likes of Zico, Socrates, Falcao, Eder etc.; considered probably the greatest side not to win the World Cup. Despite their mesmerizing football they could not win at the end against tactics and power games.
In early 90s Brazil played with some defensive structure but from 94 WC things changed for the Seleção, a new era started with three back to back WC finals, triumph in two of those. The likes of Romario, Bebeto, Ronaldo, Rivaldo, and Roberto Carlos made a bench mark for others.
They also won some Copa America titles in that time. In 2006 and 2010 WCS Brazil suffered early elimination from the quarterfinals in the hands of eventual finalists France and Netherlands. Despite their earlier elimination they were supposed to be the favorite with star-studded lineups.
After the 2010 WC preparation started for the home world cup with new sets of players, Neymar as their talisman. Came the confederation cup 2013, Brazil thumped world champions Spain 3-0 in the final and became the hottest favorite of the world cup next summer.
2014 World Cup
Brazil started their home world cup with a dream of removing the wounds of “Maracanzo’, happened some 64 long years ago with a triumph in the 20th World Cup. In that ill-fated 1950 final on home soil they lost to Uruguay at the dying moments of the match while only a draw would seal the title for them. Thumping victories against world and European champions Spain made them hottest favourites to clinch the title with Neymar as their talisman.
Brazil started with a 3-1 win against Croatia and topped the group with 7 points, Neymar on a roll. Still it was a different Brazil under Luis Philip Scholari, the intention was very simple: Win at any cost. They played some rash football with a defensive outlook and Neymar as the attacking force.
In the last 16 stage crossbar rescued them and they survived in the penalty shoot-out against Chile, certainly the better side. In the next round they beat an impressive Colombia with playing rash, making about 30 or more fouls in the whole 90 minutes. Such rash and undisciplined play was a shame for a team of Brazil’s caliber. They paid the price for it, Captain Thiago Silva got suspended for yellow cards and Neymar suffered a career threatening injury from the reckless challenge of Zuniga. Brazil reached the semi-final but with lot of questions over their tactics and playing style, they were over reliant on Neymar too. It was not the Brazil people wanted, in the past two world cups they were eliminated early but not with a performance like that, end was near.
Humiliating, Shameful Semifinal at Belo Horizonte
In the semi-final the confrontation was with the Germans at Belo Horizonte. They tried to attack the Germans all out from the opening minutes, Germans sit back for the first 10minutes to settle down and Thomas Muller scored from a corner, next up Miroslav Klose broke the world cup goal tally of Ronaldo. One way traffic afterwards as Germany beat them with 7-1 scoreline setting up a World Cup record, biggest victory in a semi-final.
The humiliation would be remembered as “Minierazo whack”-replaced “Maracanazo” as shame, pain, anguish and pity for Brazil. The home fans started to “ole” every German move and booed every Brazilian player. They could not salvage anything from the third place playoff as Netherlands beat them 3-0.
Reason Of Disaster
Now the question is, what are the reasons of disaster, what they lacked? Probably everything. It was proved that the confederation cup triumph mattered nothing (Spain was also knocked out of the world cup poorly from the group stage). Brazil lost their identity, their style, flair everything. So do you think they played European power game? Well they tried may be but lacked in every department. They were over dependent on Neymar, the whole team failed to play as a unit which is key to football and winning a tournament as big as the world cup. Their defensive structure also break down at the end, midfield was going to be non-existent and the fullbacks were exposed severely, center forwards were worse than most of the teams. And the team missed experience.
In previous versions of the tournament they lost but not like this, the Seleção didn’t played their game; tried ridiculous power game, wrong tactics, no mixed of youth and experience and they had to suffer. Germany didn’t made the team in a year, it took a decade, luckily for them that their fierce rivals could not win it at the majestic Maracana, the pain and anguish would have been more.
Second Spell of Dunga
After the end of the world cup as expected Scholari gave his resignation as expected. Dunga was appointed manager again. The wound of “Mineieazo whack” would heal a bit if they could capture the 2015 Copa America title in Chile. Rebuilding of Dunga started with some friendly victories, one of them against arch rivals Argentina (2-0). Before the tournament they won 11 games in a row that includes victories against France, Chile, Colombia, Austria. Slowly Seleção started to gain faith from the fans. They were not playing that beautifully but they were getting job done and were going to be among the favorites of Copa America .But the squad selection of Dunga surprised all.
Brazil Performance in Copa America 2015
The new Brazilian manager called up various players after his appointment but did he really get the right players and get his tactics right? Time would tell. He called up 7 players playing outside of Europe, biggest surprises are exclusions of Lucas Moura of PSG and Diego Alves of Valencia, the later has about 47% penalty saving record which includes saves from Messi and Ronaldo. He is also among top goalkeepers in La Liga, overlooked by both Scholari and Dunga, his skills could be handy in the tournament.
Oscar, Luiz Gustavo, Danilo were the major exclusions due to injury. Marcelo, Hulk, Kaka also didn’t make it to the squad. Only 5 players of the squad have more than 50 caps which shows lack of experience of the team yet it’s not a very young team in terms of age. Dani Alves earned call up as a result of injury to Danilo. So the Copa started for Brazil against Peru.
Questions raised again, except Neymar the whole team looked ordinary again, yet they earned a narrow 2-1 win thanks to individual brilliance of their talisman. Drama was yet to happen. Against Colombia Brazil failed again as Neymar, Willian, Coutinho could not influence as expected from them and Brazil lost 1-0. Thing goes bad to worse as Neymar was involved in an incident that earned him a red card after the match and afterwards suspension from the whole tournament.
A behavior from a captain wasn’t supposed to be like this in a major continental tournament. Question raised over Dunga’s decision to make a 23year old his captain who is verbal and aggressive in nature. He has a long way to go in his career and he has to be humble and need a cool head, instead he let his nation down. It was clear, he hasn’t learn how to behave on and off the field. Dunga is the only one to blame as he make Neymar captain of his team when he had a leader like Silva.
Fernandinho is very much inconsistent and rash in his tackles. He and Fred both had a very poor game against Columbia, they could not keep position and passing was awful. Firmino is not yet eligible to start for Brazil really. Brazil won against Venezuela with a narrow 2-1 win yet again, needed a lot of improvement to beat Paraguay without Neymar. Coutinho and Willian had to play their best games for the team and show their creativity at international level.
In the quarterfinal it was an even contest; Brazil took the lead through Robinho but Gonzalez equalized from the spot after Silva conceded the penalty. Coutinho, Willian played really well but could not get the winner and book the date against arch rivals Argentina in the semi-final. In the shoot-out Everton Ribeiro and Douglas Costa missed the target and Santa Cruz missed for Paraguay. Jefferson was unable to influence any kick of Paraguay and Brazil lost 3-4 on penalties. Brazil really missed Diego Alves at that point.
Copa America was supposed to be the tournament of resurrection for Brazil but they could not overcome the same hurdle of Paraguay in the same stage as the last tournament in Argentina. Once again scenes of disappointment and decay in the Brazil camp and more questions arises. Few reasons for Brazil’s disappointing performance in Copa 2015.
Strategy, Style and Tactics of Dunga
You have to look on Dunga’s style, strategy and tactics. He really didn’t have any idea what was going on against Colombia. Was his appointment took Brazil backwards? Time will tell soon but overlooking Lucas and Diego Alves was big mistakes along with handing the armband to Neymar.
More Responsibility for Young Guns
Questions arises on the young players earning too much at an early age in Europe. Their lifestyle need to be more disciplined if they are to achieve big in their career. Bad lifestyle finished and shortened many Brazilian careers, Ronaldinho, Pato few among them. Neymar need to rectify himself as a player and person on and of the fields. Overall Brazil need a backbone in the midfield and leaders have to come out as a force.
Possible Way To Comeback
At first they need a stable and creative midfield, they were unfortunate to loose Oscar and Gustavo to injury. Any center forward has yet to click properly so Neymar would be good to play as false 9 and Coutinho, Lucas, Oscar, Willian’s creativity should come handy if they are played together for some time. Gustavo and Casemiro should be good as central defensive midfielder. Present team is not young yet inexperienced, so the biggest talents and performers of Brazil need to play together for at least 4/5 years for good results.
The Seleção fans only can wait for a ‘united’ Brazilian team who can come back to glory as a team; patience, a lot of time and effort need for that. Brazil need to follow examples and influences of La Roja and Die Mannschaft. Right team selection, idea and team play are necessary to improve. If Dunga can’t do any good they need foreign manager if they want any remarkable changes.