Saturday, 12 July 2014

Brazil - The Legend is Dead

The football loving world looked on in shock and awe on Tuesday as Brazil was humiliated by Germany in the former's worst world cup defeat since 1920.  The score: 7 goal to 1, in favour of Germany.  I watched the drama unfold from the comfort of my living room, periodically pinching myself to check that I hadn't slept off before kick off.  For hours after the game had ended, I was still asking myself the question, "did that just happen?"  I thanked God that I was not Brazilian that night.

It's easy to understand hurt and humiliation such a proud footballing nation felt, and feels, at the utter decimation of its team at such a high profile stage, when they had harboured such hopes of glory.  In my view, their hope was misguided in the first place.  Brazil had managed to get to the semis without ever having played particularly well.  They really ought to have been beaten in the quarter finals by Columbia, but crowd-power pulled them through. With the benefit of hindsight, it would probably have been better for Brazil had they lost gallantly at that earlier stage.  As it is, we will probably never be able to see Brazil the same way again. The myth has been shattered, the legend tainted, and the once-proud footballing nation has been reduced to a by-word by the ruthless German machine.

Would the result have been different had the Brazilian star Neymar not been injured and unable to play?  We will never know.  What we do know is that one man does not, and should never make a team.  Was the absence of defender and captain Thiago Silva to blame?  Well, he ought not to have conceded an unnecessary yellow card against Columbia and then he would have been in the fray, marshalling his men against the German onslaught.  Whichever way you look at it, there was no excuse for and no way to predict a 7 - 1 thrashing in that game.

As I write, I watch the third place match is drawing to a close, 3 - 0 to Holland and 4 added minutes left to play, and I shake my  head.  This isn't Brazil.  Perhaps we must wait for another generation of players to excite and amaze us with "samba football".  For now, all eyes turn towards tomorrow's final.  Will the Germans be brilliant once more and kill Argentina's dream of a first world cup win since 1986?

By this time tomorrow, we'll know.

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