The Brazilian Football Team: Past, Present and Future
The history of the Brazilian Football team began with the team’s first international match in 1914, a 0–3 loss to Argentina. Brazil played in the first FIFA World Cup in 1930. The Brazil national team has been successful throughout its history, winning the FIFA World Cup five times since 1958.
Having won the FIFA World Cup five times, more than any other national team, the Brazil has had many golden generation periods, notably the 1958–1970 squad and most recently the successful team of late 1990s/early 2000s.
In the 1997–2006 period, the team won one Confederations Cup (2005), three Copa Américas (1997, 1999, 2004), one World Cup (2002) and were the runners-up in 1998. Many of the players in the squad were multiple Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year winners/nominees and had successful club careers in Europe.
At the turn of the millennium the Brazilian Football team were revered as the greatest football team on the planet – they had reached the final of the three World Cups from the years 1994 to 2002, winning two and losing the other.
Throughout those golden years for the Samba stars they had numerous players established among the best in the game. They played for the greatest teams, and won the most prestigious awards.
Brazil 1, Germany 7. It was the result for which the 2014 World Cup will be forever remembered but even now just simply the scoreline retains its capacity to shock. 7-1! Those numbers were relayed on front-pages across the world the following day but none felt more eerie than the cover of the Brazilian newspaper Folha de S.Paulo. The image simply of the scoreboard in Belo Horizonte amid all the surrounding darkness was brilliantly appropriate. The lights went out that night on a dream. As Paul Hayward, writing in these pages, put it: “Brazil spent $11 billion on a national calamity.” In hindsight, it would be easy to look back on that match, compare the respective line-ups, and conclude that we should have seen it coming.
Maybe not a six-goal winning margin but surely a comprehensive German victory. Whereas Joachim Löw’s team – and squad – oozed established quality, Brazil had actually done rather well even to reach the last four.
Their front three that night of Hulk, Fred and Bernard was conceivably the worst in the proud history of the world’s greatest football nation. The captain, David Luiz, might have just become the most expensive defender in football history but, at the absolute elite level, he was perhaps also the most erratic. Goalkeeper Julio Cesar had come into the World Cup after half a season spent not even making the bench at Queens Park Rangers in the Championship followed by a seven-match spell on loan with Toronto FC in the MLS.
Brazil’s U20 World Cup silver medalists advanced to the competition by securing fourth place in the Final stage of the South American Youth Football Championship, surprisingly losing out to group leaders Argentina,Colombia and Uruguay and managing only the last spot required to qualify. The team became known for its defensive prowess, though, as the young Seleçao battled their way to the final of the World Cup with Serbia without having conceded a goal for over 8 and a half hours – a remarkable fact, given the team’s offensive potential and natural disposition. They remained heavy favorites to win it all in the end, but couldn’t capitalize on their opponents fatigue and conceded what proved to be the winning goal in the 118th minute of extra-time, with Maksimovic going for the jugular and breaking the hearts of all those clad in yellow and green. Let’s see what made the Selecao tick in New Zealand.
Rogerio Micale took over Brazil’s U20 team just weeks prior to the World Cup, but that didn’t stop him from instilling a unique style of play which ensured his squad would reach the final in a determined fashion. Nicknamed O Galo (or “The Cock” in English), his levels of discipline and commitment were what turned the Brazilian youngsters into title contenders from fourth-place outsiders.