Thursday, June 17, 2021
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Birth or Death of the Samba in 2016?

Another major tournament and it is heartbreak yet again for the Selecao! As Peru knocked Brazil out of the ongoing Copa America Centenario 2016 (thanks to that bizarre hand goal by Raul Ruidiaz!) one wonders as to whether the Selecao’s days of dominance in world football has all but ended? If that 7-1 semi-final mauling against that all conquering German outfit at Belo Horizonte in the 2014 World Cup was just a sign as to how far Brazilian soccer has fallen from its previous lofty pedestal then this latest ouster against Peru only reiterates that fact. Gone are the days when the Men in Yellow toyed and harried opponents with ease thanks to their free flowing and majestic brand of football which captivated an audience of millions. And how can we forget 2002 when the three ‘R’s’ (Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho) turned on the style and waltzed their way to World Cup glory in South Korea and Japan.

So what exactly has gone wrong for Brazilian football? Despite being the seventh best team in the world (as per the latest FIFA rankings) still do recent results make Brazil look like a parody of its former self? If you discount Brazil’s 2013 Confederations Cup win the last major title the Selecao won was the 2007 Copa America (a 3-0 win over old enemy Argentina in Maracaibo) which now looks like a mirage. Also the more concerning fact is that of over dependence on Neymar (who skipped the Copa after Barcelona struck a deal Brazil to only include the player for the upcoming Rio Olympics) which may prove to be a catalyst for even bigger disasters.

It may be remembered that Neymar did not feature in that ill fated game against Germany (thanks to a back injury incurred in the quarter-final win against Colombia) and his absence had a telling effect on the psyche of an entire nation.

Brazil looked like a team shorn of fight and were quickly torn apart by the Germans which proved that the former indeed was a one man army (at least in attack).

Even in the 2016 Copa apart from that 7-1 mauling of lowly Haiti the Selecao could not muster goals against either of Ecuador or Peru which proves that Neymar’s absence indeed has had a telling effect. Of course there are players like Real Madrid’s midfield talisman Casimero (24) and Santos’ teenage sensation Gabriel (19) who are widely tipped to be the future of Brazilian.

football but then still is it all really enough?

With the Rio Olympics all but near us it would be huge travesty if Brazil again crash out without a semblance of a fight and thus send an entire nation into darkness once more. In fact the Rio Games is an excellent opportunity for the Selecao to add the one missing piece of silverware in their glittering trophy cabinet which may just about kick start a football revolution for the generations to come by.

But then the question remains as to whether Brazil would redeem itself at Rio? Or will they crumble and crash to miss out on Olympic glory yet again?

Win or lose the Rio Games may just about be the start of either the birth or death of the Samba for Brazil in 2016!

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