Tag: Brazil

World Cup 2010: Portugal 0-0 Brazil

Whether or not Group G was this World Cup’s Group of Death, it appears to have taken place in 1966, at Goodison Park, with Eusebio scoring every goal. The game Lineker and co. are expecting is taking place in some fantasy world far from the realities of the group table. No-one is saying Brazil v Portugal is destined to be as bad as it turns out. But there are clues. Brazil are through. Portugal need a point, or at least to lose by not many. Both sides have changed nearly half their teams. Brazil’s strengths are supposedly their two holding midfielders, the best goalkeeper in the world and a boring manager who’s built the team in his own image. And Portugal have kept a thousand clean sheets in their last thousand and three games. Yet virtually all of this is overlooked in favour of more clips of Eusebio (didn’t he run funny!!) and the usual Pele bits from 1970 – believe me, you know the ones. “You can’t tire of seeing that sort of stuff,” insists Shearer, incorrectly. There’s friction between Clarence Seedorf and Hansen over the relative merits of Cristiano Bloody Ronaldo (CBR). Seedorf claims CBR can’t “carry a struggling team on his shoulders.” Hansen counter-claims that CBR did it at Old Trafford for three years. It will be news to Man Yoo fans that their team were...

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World Cup 2010: Brazil 3-1 Ivory Coast

There is a lot of hyperbole spoken about the Brazilian football team. Probably more than is spoken about any club or national side on the planet. It’s almost a mythology. Admittedly, it’s a mythology based on a handful of the most gifted players that have ever lived (see, even I buy into it, to a degree): Pele, Garrincha, Rivelinho, Zico. Even Brazil teams have their fair share of poor players in the national side: Serginho, Roque Junior, most of the team they took to Italia ‘90. It’s because of the former group of players that every Brazilian who is remotely half decent becomes overrated to the point of greatness: Careca, Romario, Roberto Carlos, Cafu, Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho and of the current crop Kaka. All of whom have great technique, and are wonderfully gifted players, but when we consider the all time greats in the sport, it is unlikely any of those will appear. They are more fortunate to live in an era where footage of them is between readily available and covered to the point of saturation, whereas the Brazil team mythology is helped by their peak co-inciding first with the introduction of television to the masses, and then with the first World Cup televised in colour. Players such as Alfredo di Stefano, Just Fontaine, Gunnar Nilsson, Sandor Kocsis, Estanislao Basora, Oldrich Nejedly, John Charles and Tom Finney as...

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World Cup 2010: Brazil 2-1 North Korea

It’s easy to disguise ignorance with mockery, and so it seems with this evening’s intriguing match between Brazil and North Korea. Before the match, ITV treats us to as many cliches about North Korea as they can fit into thirty minutes to cover up the fact that very few us know anything particularly significant about them. A quick look at the AFC qualifying rounds, however, is telling. North Korea were seeded higher in qualifying than 2002 qualifiers China or the 2007 AFC Asian Cup winners Iraq. In the final round of the tortuously long AFC qualifying competition, they knocked out Asian qualifiers Saudi Arabia as well as Iran. In contrast with North Korea, everybody knows all about Brazil. Or, at least, they know all of the cliches about them. A cursory glance at the squad that Dunga brought to the finals (and, just as significantly, those that he left behind) confirms that this is a squad that has been sculpted to win the World Cup rather than to excite the senses of the purists. How, though, will they react to a team that they know almost nothing about? How do you prepare for such a match? Those predicting a record-breaking score for Brazil this evening are missing a trick. The value of Brazil’s stock could go down as well as up with this particular match, against opposition about whom...

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World Cup Tales: Eleven Goals In Strasbourg, 1938

As the entrants lined up for the 1938 World Cup finals in France, storm clouds were building up the horizon, and the tournament itself wasn’t exempt from such global concerns. Three months prior to the start of it, German tanks had marched into Austria, annexing the country through the Anschlüss agreement. Within a couple of months, the Austrian national football team, which had got to the semi-finals of the previous tournament in Italy and was one of the favourites for this one, was no more. On the 28th of March 1938, just sixteen days after the Anschlüss was signed, FIFA was notified that the Austrian Football Association, the OFB, had been abolished and that Germany would be representing both nations. Sweden, the team that they had been due to play, received a bye to the second round of the tournament. The decision to award the 1938 World Cup finals to France had caused considerable outrage in itself. It had been announced at FIFA’s 1936 congress, which was held in Berlin, and it had been expected at the time that the finals of the competition would be alternated between Europe and South America. Argentina and Uruguay withdrew from the competition, leaving Brazil and Cuba as the only representatives from the Americas. The decision provoked a riot outside the headquarters of the Argentinian Football Association. The only South American preresentatives, however,...

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World Cup Preview: Group G

The 2010 FIFA World Cup kicks off in just two weeks today, which is so exciting the hair on my legs keeps on spontaneously erupting into flames. By this time next week – when your correspondent Dotmund (to use his Brazilian footballer nickname) completes his guide to the groups – all the final squads will be announced and we’ll be good to go. This is especially useful for him, as he’s just realised he’s not written the preview for Group H yet. Group G, however, is in the can. Let’s suckle at the teat of knowledge and learn about the fortunes of Brazil, North Korea, Ivory Coast and Portugal.

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