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Sitting with the Samba boys

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Jonathan Stevenson | 08:43 UK time, Monday, 21 June 2010

World Cup 2010: Johannesburg

Let me tell you about the evening I spent watching the 2010 World Cup winners-elect with some truly remarkable football fans.

Now with three weeks left of action still to be played out, far be it from me to spoil the surprises that no doubt lie in store in a tournament that produces more twists and turns with every passing hour.

But as I sat and watched Brazil dominate and destroy Ivory Coast on Sunday, no-one around me had any doubt that the team they were seeing will return to Soccer City on Sunday 11 July to win the World Cup.

They were all Brazilian, true, but the confidence they exude as supporters is absolute. Not that they enjoyed all of their evening, but more of that later.

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When the group stage draw was made in December, five-time winners Brazil v Ivory Coast, the host continent's best chance of success, was widely considered to be the pick of the first-round games, which might explain why, of the 10 matches in Johannesburg that I sought accreditation for, it was the only one I had to go on a waiting list for.

Cue a fraught evening that, for what felt like an uncomfortably long time though it probably only lasted a few minutes, saw me right in the middle of a huddle of about 100 press men from every corner of the globe desperately hoping to hear their name read out and then be handed the ultimate prize: a ticket for Match 29. Charlie Bucket had nothing on this.

"BBC Sport, Jonathan Stevenson," sounded just a little bit like winning the lottery, only better and in a footballing sense. When I arrived at my seat, however, I found not a conventional journalist's berth complete with desk, internet access and a television (crucially, with replays), but what some people like to call the overflow area, without any of the above comforts. Effectively, it's a fan's seat - and with this one positioned precariously on the outer edge of said area, I found myself sitting with a large - and soon to be loud - group of Brazil fans.

If this was to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, they did not let me down. In fact, as soon as the two guys in front of me turned round, I knew it was going to be interesting. One of them had donned a hairless wig and fake buck teeth, and together they held up a banner which read 'There is only one Ronaldo', complete with a picture of the legendary Brazilian striker and five bullet-point reasons explaining why he was the best.

To my surprise, the mirth did not last long and as soon as the game began I realised this was a deadly serious business for the entire South American contingent around me. Brazil started sloppily and gave the ball away too easily - and the more it happened the more incensed my new companions became. It didn't take me long to realise who was bearing the brunt of much of their anger.

"Felipe Melo, FELIPE MELO," they spat, time after time after time. Even when it was not his fault that a move broke down or a pass went astray, the Juventus midfielder was held personally responsible. Eventually I broke, desperate to find out why this man was held in such disregard by the people around me, and asked the guy next to me, Joao (I think that was his name, only at the exact second he told me the fella next to him blew a you-know-what at 127 decibels).

He looked more stunned than if he had just seen the object of his ire dance round four defenders and rifle one into the top corner from 35 yards. "Serious?" he said. "Aren't you a journalist?" he ventured, screwing his eyes up in the direction of my accreditation. I had to think very carefully before deciding not to answer that one, presuming it was a trick question.

But the Felipe Melo bile continued and no matter what he did - even once launching a stunning 50-yard pass on to the instep of a marauding Maicon down the right - these people would not leave him alone. The worst part was when he was on the receiving end of an awful tackle from Kader Keita that earned the Ivorian a yellow card. More "FELIPE MELO" chat from the front row followed, so I asked Joao what they were complaining about this time. "They wish Keita had gone in harder and put Felipe Melo out of the tournament," he responded.

Brazilian supporters are not like anyone else, I was finding out at first hand. Winning, as I touched on after they beat North Korea in their first game, is not good enough - they want their team to win with panache and style. Wayne Rooney thinks he has it bad? Well, at Soccer City on Sunday, the public address announcement of coach Dunga's name was greeted by more boos than cheers, with many Brazilians abhorring his win-at-all-costs mantra and willingness to pick players like Melo, who, I believe, do such a crucial - but seemingly unappreciated - job for the team.

When I asked Joao after the final whistle had sounded - and a 3-1 win had been achieved against one of the tournament's dark horses - what Dunga was getting wrong, he told me: "There is no need for two defensive midfielders, Felipe Melo and Gilberto Silva. One of them will do. When we defend, they play almost as defenders - it's like we have six on the pitch. It's not Brazilian, we don't need it, we want to attack more."

Yet despite this frustration, not one of the Brazilian fans I spoke to at Soccer City had any doubt whatsoever that, come the final, Dunga's captain Gilberto will be the man lifting the Fifa World Cup Trophy into the air as the country that once made the game beautiful celebrates a sixth World Cup win for their football-obsessed nation.

I asked another fan whether Argentina and Lionel Messi could stop them. "What, like he stopped Julio Cesar, Maicon and Lucio from winning the Champions League? No chance. Not with 11 Messis could they beat us," he said, referring to Inter's victory over Barcelona in their European semi-final last season.

When it comes to football, Brazilians seem to have an answer for everything. On the pitch and off it. Ivory Coast manager Sven-Goran Eriksson wasted no time in declaring Brazil are now the team to beat. "I think Brazil can go all the way," said the Swede, who led England to the last eight in 2002 and 2006. "To beat Brazil, you must almost be perfect."

But not even perfection, it seems, will be enough to satisfy some of the Samba Boys' supporters in South Africa this summer.


  • Comment number 1.

    I completely agree, it's brazil all the way........ would love a final with Spain, but that will only happen if they win their group......

  • Comment number 2.

    You're a bit late to the game on this subject Jonathan.

    Brazilians have always been like this, it's not just because of Dunga and the current team. Watching it with my Brazilian girlfriend and her a group of her friends last night, they were enraged that it was still 0-0 after 10 minutes and accused the team of playing like England. They were only satisfied when it was 3-0 but were once again angry when they conceeded late on in the game just as they were when North Korea scored.

    Brazilians expect their team to win every game and win it convincingly without conceeding a goal so all this talk of England being overburdened with expectation is rubbish when you consider what is expected of Brazil. When I was last in Brazil I was at a Sao Paulo game, they were leading 5-0 but then conceeded a soft goal late in the game, the crowd were furious even though it had no bearing on the result, cries of "felia da puta" aimed at the defender at fault greeted him for the remainder of the game and as he left the pitch.

    This is nothing new, Brazil expects but unlike England, Brazil usually wins.

  • Comment number 3.

    PulpGrape, I got as far as 'my Brazilian girlfriend and a group of her friends' and forgot everything... you lucky man.

  • Comment number 4.

    Haha yeah its something of a novelty collie and they are great people to be around. Brazil is one hell of a country too, already looking forward to the next World Cup there.

  • Comment number 5.

    #2 Pulpgrate wrote: Brazil expects but unlike England, Brazil usually wins.


    We don't expect to win..infact most expect glorious failure as we've become so accustomed to it in the last 44 years...but we do expect players to give their all to defend the country and the shirt - when it doesn't happen that's what annoys England fans most!

    "England expects that every man will do his duty" - Lord Nelson.

    And contrary to Pulpgrate's statement above perhaps can find some solace in the fact that despite 5 World Cup wins and loads of entertaining football through the years it appears even the Brazil fans are never satisfied - ' not good enough - they want their team to win with panache and style.'

  • Comment number 6.

    Nice Blog

    Call me a cynic but ive never been a huge fan of Brazil in World Cup Tournaments.
    In 1958, 1970 and 1982 yes they had the flair, the players and the heart of the fans but the Brazil of my first world cup in 1974 was cynical and defensive.1978 was not much better. 1994 and 2002 i thought they were full of gamesmanship as well.

    Ive always thought they seem to always get the rub of the referees Green as well.

    This is the first time in my memory that they've had a tough group to get out of as well (anyone remember 2002 with Turkey,Costa Rica and China)?

    Maybe as i stated its because my memories of Brazil in my formative years are of a cynical and rough team mean that i love to see them lose.

  • Comment number 7.

    5. At 11:42am on 21 Jun 2010, JoC wrote:

    #2 Pulpgrate wrote: Brazil expects but unlike England, Brazil usually wins.


    We don't expect to win..infact most expect glorious failure as we've become so accustomed to it in the last 44 years...but we do expect players to give their all to defend the country and the shirt - when it doesn't happen that's what annoys England fans most!

    "England expects that every man will do his duty" - Lord Nelson.

    And contrary to Pulpgrate's statement above perhaps can find some solace in the fact that despite 5 World Cup wins and loads of entertaining football through the years it appears even the Brazil fans are never satisfied - ' not good enough - they want their team to win with panache and style.'


    PulpGrate - wonder how long it took you to come up with that one. Pat on the back.

    When we come up against teams like Algeria, we do expect to win. You're saying the country would of been satisfied if we drew 0-0 but played really well? Doubt it, maybe against USA who are a useful side but not against Algeria no.

    Anyway this blog isn't about England it's about Brazil and JoC, your statement isn't contrary to mine, I said exactly the same, some countries are never satisfied, Brazil being the prime example. What I was trying to say was that the pressure our national team is under is nothing compared to the pressure that Brazil are, it's just another feeble excuse to try and pardon England.

  • Comment number 8.

    Largely agree with Lucifer38, especially the point that Brazil seem to 'always get the rub of the referees Green as well.' O.K. granted Kaka's sending-off was farcical (but remember who started the clutching of the face routine after the slightest contact in '02) and obviously there's the last minute disallowed goal back in Arg'78, but Fabiano seems to have got completely away with that double-handball goal which effectively finished the game as any contest. Maradona and particularly Henry got rightfully pilloried for their handballs, but the yellow shirt cannot be tainted with such accusations of cheating it seems? Even Sven just called it isn't always such beautiful football.

  • Comment number 9.

    In reply to #7 PulpGrate - Yeah..sorry for my mis-referencing and use of the word 'contrary' to your statement - my mistake. It took me seconds to come up with Nelson quote though ;)

    I think a lot of England fans hope and 'on paper' do expect to beat the likes of Algeria, but from drawing with likes of Morocco in previous tournaments and scraping past Egypt and T&T etc are always a bit cautious/worried. My point was - if they had played their heart out on Friday and were unlucky they wouldn't have been booed off.

    Sorry to go on about question - why do you think Brazil are under more pressure?

  • Comment number 10.

    Well Brazil are always expected to win and win in style without conceeding even if they are 3-0 up. Dunga is very unpopular with fans and the media in his home country, when I was last over there in April most people I spoke to thought he was a donkey (Dunga in Portuguese actually means "Dopey" ironically) and although they revere his playing style they still expect the team to win. Theres also the fact that the population of England is microscopic compared to that of Brazil millions and millions more worth of expectation. I guess the answer to why I think Brazil are under more pressure is the simple fact that football is a way of life over there and they expect to win everytime even if faith in the team and manager isn't 100%

  • Comment number 11.

    PulpGrape I don't know if it's cultural, but the Brazilians seem to handle pressure more, and better than anyone else. I am wondering why? Is it because they are more in touch with the reality of life perhaps?

  • Comment number 12.

    I lived in Brazil for 2 years from December 2006 to January 2009 and met my Brazilian wife there and you're right that Brazilians are always very confident that they will win the World Cup every time it comes around. I just came back from a business trip to the US and I bought my wife the new Brazil shirt there and when I gave it to her, she responded with "Why did you buy this before the cup? You should have waited until after when it has a 6th star on the crest!!!".

    The thing is, I don't think Brazilians love football as much as us English do, it's just that when it's time for the World Cup, everyone dons the jersey and supports their team, even people that don't normally watch football. Brazilians are very patriotic people who love their country and with football being the national sport, everyone sees it as a chance to show their pride in being Brazilian.

    When I was working in Brazil, one of my colleagues there told me that he always thought Brazilians loved football until he spent some time in England. He was amazed at how football dominated conversations in the office and how people arranged their lives around games. The stadiums in Brazil are rarely full and most championship teams in England get crowds that Brazilian teams would envy. Most Brazilians like to play football (futsal is very popular) and watch on TV rather than go to the matches themselves. One of the things you do notice though is that the number of women who love football in Brazil is almost the same as the number of men.

    I think the Brazilians tend to handle pressure better because they are brought up believing that they are the best. As far as they are concerned, Brazil is the best football team in the world and other teams should fear them. They are never in any doubt about that. They are supremely confident even if they don't like the coach (Brazilians never like the coach.....) or certain players.

    Oh and's 'Filho da Puta' which means 'Son of......' you can guess the rest!!!

  • Comment number 13.


    That would be "filho da puta"................

    Just sayin'................

  • Comment number 14.

    Sorry Lee, I'm still learning Portuguese, when my girlfriend teaches me the bad words she doesn't teach me the spelling ;)

    I tend to disagree with you on us over here liking football more than the Brazilian people. I've been to a fair few Serie A games at Sao Paulo and Portuguesa and the atmosphere at both was sensational. Sao Paulo didn't fill their stadium that particular day because of the team they were playing but there were a good 55,000 people there, far from empty. Portuguesa was full both times I went there, a much smaller stadium but still full with home and away fans. Football is everywhere you look in Sao Paulo and Rio and when I went to Bahia it was played on the beaches every day. We love to watch football here in England but Brazil truly supports it.

  • Comment number 15.

    Oh and another thing, I love that your wife said that about the stars on the shirt. I was at a school fete on Saturday and several Brazilian couples were selling shirts on their stand, they said they were "getting rid of the ones with five stars on because they would soon be out of date".

  • Comment number 16.

    PulpGrape - No problem, I figured as such as you got it right phonetically!! The bad words are the first you learn and there are plenty of them said at the football matches!!!

    There are exceptions to what I said about the English loving football more and I think there are also differences in the cities too. I was living in Curitiba and although people loved playing football there, they certainly didn't worship it and the stadiums were rarely full. Think Sao Paulo and Rio are hotbeds of football as I went to a Copa Libertadores quarter final game at the Maracana in Rio between Sao Paulo and Flumninense in 2008 and that was amazing. The atmosphere was truly electric and my friends and I watched the game with the hard core supporters in the cheap seats and it was an experience never to be forgotten. Those guys truly do love their football. However, from the people I met (and I travelled all over Brazil), I still think the English love their football more but the Brazilians do love to play and I have to say, I loved to play in Brazil with them.....was great to play with a smile on your face and be able to express yourself without worrying about someone breaking your legs!!

  • Comment number 17.

    haha...Brazilians are great people. I had the best 2 years of my life living there and that was because of the people. They are so friendly, welcoming and have a great sense of humour and attitude to life. They live each day as if it was their last and have an amazing laid back attitude.

    My wife was just looking over my shoulder as I said I thought English loved football more and she had something to say about that.....she wasn't happy!!

  • Comment number 18.

    Agree with you on the people, a lot more warm, friendly and welcoming than those over here in England. I also notice how much better customer service is over there when it comes to pretty much anything.

    I'd love to live over there.

  • Comment number 19.

    It would not be a complete Brazilian performance without a defensive lapse. As soon as I said that to my wife....Drog scores!! Dunga is like Mourinho, he is taking the pressure off his players.

  • Comment number 20.

    When I grew up Brazil we're the best country in the world, Real Madrid we're the best team in the world, & well England expected but couldn't deliver..
    Has much changed? Perhaps an argument over R Madrid but we'll save that for another day :)


  • Comment number 21.

    I'm a brazilian and yes,we do expect more of the team.Too much confidence isn't good,like in 2006 we thought we were winners without the victory.

  • Comment number 22.

    18. At 4:04pm on 21 Jun 2010, PulpGrape wrote:
    I'd love to live over there.

    Oh get over it .. I had that phase too. There are plenty of good things in England too. Walk round the centre of London - how many gorgeously in shape English girls will see, as many as gorgeously in shape girls as on Ipenema beach. Its just a matter of effort - they try and stay in shape down there.

    The relevance being - when England try - they can be good - well not quite as good as Brasil ;)

  • Comment number 23.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 24.

    22. At 10:02pm on 21 Jun 2010, LoveLondon wrote:

    18. At 4:04pm on 21 Jun 2010, PulpGrape wrote:
    I'd love to live over there.

    Oh get over it .. I had that phase too.


    Hilarious that you tell me to get over it when your user ID is "LoveLondon" so maybe YOU should get over it ;)

    Firstly I made no reference to girls when I talked up Brazil, I already have a girlfriend but while we are on the subject there is no way English girls are as beautiful as those in Brazil, that's just ridiculous.

    I actually live in London and have done for 7 years. Yes it has its perks but it is also a depressing place with rude, smelly people, no customer service standards and dirty streets, give me Brazil any day. I also wonder if you will love England so much after the Budget is announced today ;)

  • Comment number 25.

    "24. At 10:03am on 22 Jun 2010, PulpGrape wrote::

    I actually live in London and have done for 7 years. Yes it has its perks but it is also a depressing place with rude, smelly people, no customer service standards and dirty streets, give me Brazil any day."

    Brasil - what, any part of Brasil, Natal, Recife.

    Look cities are big, and in fact it's where you live in the city that makes the difference.

    Some dull suburb on the outside of Rio is no way as fun as multicultural hub in inner London and vica versa I might say.

    Rio De Janeiro, CLEAN? De que planeta você é..

    Yes - when I win the lottery I will buy a flat in Leblon, or Gavea blah blah blah

    Of English girls Vs Brazil girls - depends where you are in each country. Oh and what your tastes are at the time.

    PS I am not ethnically English - I have walked down both Ipenema beach and the South Bank 24 hours apart, so I know what I am talking about.


  • Comment number 26.

    Thats true that it depends on where you live in a city, I'm lucky enough to live in whats considered one of the nicest areas in London but I would still swap it any day. Infact I would much prefer to move back to Bath where I was born and raised but easier said than done.

    Hmmm well on the whole girls issue yes I guess it depends where you are, the girls in the south of England are better just as the girls in the south of Brazil are.

    I always hate London being described as a multicultural hub, its just an excuse for our excessive immigration but thats for the politics board.

    Have you been to the Brazil festival they currently have on at the South Bank? Some of it is good, the street football, construction of a favela (lol).

  • Comment number 27.

    "PulpGrape wrote:
    I always hate London being described as a multicultural hub, its just an excuse for our excessive immigration but thats for the politics board."

    Ok so obviously voce adora the super mixed race brazilian .. but also you don't like london multiculturalism even though its resulted in the super mixed race londoner ;)

    Anyway you are right - in a way ..

    I will check out the Braz(s)il festival ..

    PS Just bring your brazilian girlfriend here

  • Comment number 28.

    Bring my Brazilian girlfriend here? She's already here, we met here and shes lived here 3 years.

  • Comment number 29.

    I'm Brazilian and I live in Rio de Janeiro...I don't know much about LoveLondon's nationality but it's making me confuse...sometimes the text shows some miswritten portuguese words which I guess to come from online english translating tools, a very dangerous way to communicate well in the internet,because it always gives a bad idea about what you're trying to say.Other people who commented here talked about the 'hotness' of brazilian and english girls...really,hotness is easily found here because of ethnics,weather and other aspects.
    We really care about the quality of our football which is an institution itself;but the CBF has chosen coachs that make the squad play more for results than beauty.

  • Comment number 30.

    Awesome writting! You did got a perfect picture of how things are here. Soccer is a serious business and the coach has 190 million to please ( something impossible to achieve ). In a sense is kind like sad, because it would be nice that brazilians gave as much attention as they give to soccer to other important matters like the politics and economics of the country. But, it is really nice to see how the country comes together and how everybody ( from children to elders ) really really believes that we can win and roots for that victory. I particularly like Dunga. I think he is doing a good work. As for Felipe Melo, he is not constant and I joing the #calmafelipemelo campaing. And for the whole package... four more games and they are bringing us those six stars. It`s Brazil!!! For those that doubt the brazilian passion for soccer, don't. It is every where. From north to south. Brazilians usually have one or more teams they support. And some are crazy ( really crazy ) about it. You can see it in the world coup, the brazilian teams flags are all around the stadiums where brazilians soccer fans are. You can see it at work... Being a girl I grow up without paying much attention to soccer. When I started working the guys discussions about soccer where so interesting that I started following the brazilian tournaments so that I could follow theis discussions. Ended up in love with the game... Go Samba Boys! É CAMPEÃO!!!! É CAMPEÃO!!!!

    PS. Hated the game against Portugal... WHAT??? Came on...

  • Comment number 31.

    Hello, I'm from Brazil and am a big fan of football! I'm from Curitiba, but nevertheless would like to explain our vision for our football!
    We breathe soccer, anywhere around here! We played football all the time, whether on the streets, whether in fields or indoor! I see that you really have discovered much about our passion while on your experiences living here! But it´s not only that! We love football in general! Most Brazilians cheer for various teams in the world! In England we like Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Newcastle and Manchester City! In Spain we like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletic Madrid, Valencia and Sevilla! In italy we like AC Milan, Internazionale, Juventus and Roma! In Germany we like Bayern Munich, Wolfsburg, Shalke 04, Werder, Bayern Leverkusen and Borussia! In France we like Lyon, Paris St Germain and Bordeaux!
    In Brazil, just a pair of sandals and a ball are enough so we have an impromptu football game in the street!
    We know the history of our football! We know the story of Pele, Garrincha, Zico, Romario, Ronaldo, Socrates, Rivelino, Carlos Alberto Torres, Falcão, Ronaldinho, Ademir da Guia, Gerson, Zizinho, Cafú, Taffarel, among many! But we're also fans of other world monsters, like Maradona, Platini, Beckenbauer, Marco van Basten, Bobby Charlton, Gordon Banks, Gerd Muller, Peter Schmeichel, Paolo Rossi, Roberto Baggio, Batistuta, Puskas, Eusebio, Hristo Stoichkov, Roge Milla, among many!

    Here have a sports tv channel only on football, soccer specialty stores, advertisements for various products involving football! Every newspaper has used part about football, not to mention newspapers just about football! The tv schedule is based on the tv regional championships and national championships as well as South Americans! No other TV show can match the schedule of games! We all already know the schedules of the games on tv! Everyone in Brazil is connected with some football team, even without much passion! Football is a subject of conversation for the range of work, for the lunch time, for the rush hour with friends sharing a beer, for all the time! We know that most players are standing out during the championships! Which teams have a chance to win, which did not; who is the player with the highest number of goals, which is the goalkeeper who took less goals, etc.
    You really are right to say that we are never satisfied with Brazilian national team! This is due to the fact that every Brazilian believes some players are better than others, a tactical option is better than another, etc. We´re only happy when we won the championship! And then the coach goes from hated to beloved! A player who was once shameful will be adored! And that's how we live! Football is very serious business! Moves millions of dollars here! Mess with the passion and emotion of all!

    And if our team is beating another by five to zero, but have scored goals in ugly ways, we did not like! We do not like conceding a goal! We do not like when the coach make bad substitutions! We like hat tricks! We like when our goalkeeper defends a penalty kick!
    You say we do not fill our stadiums! That´s true! This happens cuz we're so used to seeing our teams playing every day, we like to go to the stadium when we are near to winning the championship! And while we're there, we sing without stopping, but in most tense moments, we were so quiet and concentrated that you can hear a fly in the stadium!
    I´m Sao Paulo Football Club fan! My team is in the semi-finals of the Copa Libertadores and will compete for a place in the finals against Internacional of Porto Alegre! And I really hope that our goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni, defend all shots, and score some goals (yes, our goalkeeper kicks free kicks and penalty kicks).

    São Paulo!!!!! We will be the champions! And then we will face the winner of the UEFA Champions League (Internazionale of Italy) to know who´s is the best team in the world in 2010!

    Sorry for the mistakes, but I do not write English well!
    But I read Jonathan Stevenson´s text and saw his interview in Channel Sportv here in Brazil and found it quite interesting! So I decided to write something here for you to know more about our passion for football!

    See you in 2014! And of course, there, we'll be vying for seventh world title at the World Cup, because this year we will have earned the sixth time !!!!!

  • Comment number 32.

    "Sitting with the Samba boys" is a fine write up by Jonathan. Thanks for the effort to convey what goes on when you have a seat close to the passioante lovers of Jogo Bonito. Melo is carrying out the job that has been entrusted to him by his boss. Good luck to the hard working footballer.

    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 33.

    What do you all have to say now? Brazil Brazil Brazil eh?

  • Comment number 34.

    MELO, MELO !!

  • Comment number 35.

    Kinda wondering if poor Melo's gonna have to go into hiding now back in Brazil...

    Are the days of Dunga Defence gone now, with an imperfect (sorry Sven) Oranje knocking Brazil out?

  • Comment number 36.

    What's all this about the Europeans under-performing, South Americans going to rule the world blah blah?

    Holland were gifted this match by a petulant, arrogant and ultimately childish Brazil, who clearly couldn't play under pressure. Look for the Germans to beat Argentina for similar reasons.

    We'll see how Uruguay and Paraguay get on, but looking good for semis dominated by clear thinking, patient and sophisticated European teams.

  • Comment number 37.

    Very interesting what happened today. Brasil, who are often praised for their ability to cope with pressure (see #11, #12), conceded a goal against the Dutch and lost control. After the second goal they basically collapsed, started misplacing simple passes, ranting, blaming the referee, fouling. Even Julio Cesar looked unstuck.
    I guess all those fans were right after all to want Melo out of the team! It would be wrong to blame him for everything though (although he made it harder no doubt). And credit to Holland for taking advantage of the mess.
    Personally I'm happy because I don't want Brazil to win them all but I DO want them to win on their home soil in 2014.


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