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Bruno, the boo boys and Brazil

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Tim Vickery | 16:47 UK time, Monday, 22 November 2010

A tragic, real-life soap opera unravelling in Brazilian football over recent months has been the story of Bruno, goalkeeper of Rio giants Flamengo, who is in prison accused of ordering the brutal murder of an ex-lover.

Flamengo fans have found a way to extract some black humour from such horrific developments. Last year, Bruno captained the team to the Brazilian title. This season, they have struggled. And as they have slipped dangerously close to the relegation zone, the confidence of Bruno's replacement, Marcelo Lomba, has seemed to suffer.

In a crucial match on Saturday against Guarani, Lomba slipped up again. A packed stadium responded with a chant of "Free Bruno! Arrest Lomba!" It was hardly the way to help out the young keeper. Lomba decided to play safe. Nothing was caught and every ball was punched as he sought to reduce the chances of further errors. Perhaps luckily, there was little for him to do as Flamengo won 2-1.

bruno595.jpgBruno is taken into custody. Photo: Getty Images

The result should guarantee Flamengo's place in the first division but the fans seemed more interested in running down their keeper than celebrating as they made their way home on the train after the match.

Fans booing their own players was also evident the following day, when Botafogo took on visitors Internacional.

Badly needing a win in their bid to qualify for the Copa Libertadores, South America's equivalent of the Champions League, Botafogo were beaten 2-1. Yet when the team was most in need of a boost, the home crowd made their task harder. Individual players were singled out for vicious jeering.

Attacking midfielder Lucio Flavio has long been a target for the boo boys. On Sunday, fans also turned on defensive colleague Leandro Guerrero, a player whose identification with the club is strong and whose commitment is beyond reproach. Once both had been substituted, the crowd went in search of another target - and left-back Marcelo Cordeiro was next in line. It was a case of home advantage shooting itself in the foot.

With Soccerex, a big conference and trade fair, currently running in Rio, it was impossible not to watch the games involving Flamengo and Botafogo without thinking of the 2014 World Cup. And will any team have to put up with more pressure than Brazil when the tournament rolls round in three-and-a-half years' time?

The precedent, of course, is 1950, when, in the newly constructed Maracana, Brazil suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to Uruguay. The members of that team are no longer with us but it was very clear, when I had the honour of speaking to to them a while back, that they had never managed to shake off a sense of bitterness.

They were not upset with the Uruguayans - the intensity of that 90 minutes brought the teams close and they often met up - but with the way they were treated by their own public, who lauded them as champions before the game and turned on them afterwards.

At that time, the population of Brazil was only around 50 million. By 2014, there will be 200 million piling on the pressure. Media scrutiny has become much more intense in the subsequent decades, while the bar has been set extremely high. Back in 1950, Brazil had yet to win a World Cup. Now they have won the competition five times and the idea of being beaten on home soil is almost unthinkable.

One of the most fascinating aspects of football is that the best team does not always win. Come 2014, there will be some 10 sides in the field, which, given a slice of luck, might have a chance of knocking out Brazil. Their chances of beating the hosts will be improved if local fans turn on their team.

Indeed, a wily opponent may well decide to take the sting out of the game in the hope that the crowd will transform home advantage into the opposite. Small wonder, then, that new Brazil coach Mano Menezes is considering the inclusion of a sports psychologist in his back-up staff.

Despite last week's 1-0 defeat to Argentina, Brazil's post-World Cup rebuilding programme has gone better than could have been expected. Menezes has already made significant progress. Only four of his side from last Wednesday went to the World Cup. Along with renewal has come a change in philosophy, with the idea of a more expansive passing game, midfielders who are good on the ball and a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Indeed, a big problem on Wednesday was that, with Alexandre Pato sidelined with a hamstring injury, there was no centre forward to give the attack a focal point. A World Cup squad would contain more options.

Friendlies exist to learn lessons in preparation for the serious stuff. It is to be hoped, for example, that Neymar and Robinho absorb the lesson of Lionel Messi's stoppage-time winning goal. The little genius stayed on his feet where the Brazilian strikers would almost certainly have gone to ground in search of a free-kick on the edge of the area.

messi595.jpgMessi celebrates after his goal gives Argentina victory over Brazil. Photo: Getty Images

These tactical and technical issues can be studied and improved. It is surely harder to deal with the psychological aspects of a Brazilian side playing a World Cup on home soil. Brazil will clearly need to play some friendlies in front of their own fans, where the odd disappointing performance may not be a problem. The boos might toughen them up for when it really matters.

Comments on the piece in the space provided. Questions on South American football to vickerycolumn@hotmail.com, and I'll pick out a couple for next week.

From last week's postbag:

Q) I want to ask about the Brazilian youth system and how it differs from the English way of doing things.
Michael Kays

A) European coaches sometimes come out to Brazil or Argentina looking for the big secret - and cannot find it in the coaching methods. The big difference, I think, is not necessarily what happens in the clubs. It is what happens before. It is in the sheer numbers of kids willing to commit themselves to a career in the game. An English kid has more options in life. Also, the average Brazilian kid is in school for a much shorter period of time than in England , so there is more time, as well as more inclination, to work on his game.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Great article as always Mr Vickery!!

    my question is this,
    With many opinions from english supporters that England lack the 'flair and skill components' within players at all ages and abilities that seperates us from other top nations, I am curious to know whether you think English Professional clubs should emply coaches in their youth teams, from countries such brazil, who encourage this style of freedom of expression on the pitch in the youth sides all the way through to the professional level, and whether this could be beneficial in the long term of the game?

    Thanks

    Scott Jones

  • Comment number 2.

    As widely anticipated as your blog is these days, Tim, you still fail to disappoint. Congratulations are in order yet again!

    I like your point on the Brazilian youth system: after all, you can plough all the money, time and training into youth football, but you can't produce the players if they themselves aren't willing to commit. One big thing that strikes me about English academy football, is that junior players are somewhat discouraged from playing in environments where they: a) first learned to play; and b) had endless amounts of fun in doing so (i.e. with friends). While it's important to train kids properly, you need to allow them to retain the enjoyment and desire to play - and it's quite clear that Brazilian kids have this, much more so that a good number of English kids.

  • Comment number 3.

    Very interesting read as ever Tim.

    I have one worry in regards to the Brazil side for the Rio World Cup in 2014 and that is team selection. As much as the side have made improvements under Mano Menezes compared to the success and performances achieved under Dunga (albeit in matched against the might of the USA, Ukraine, Iran and Barcelona B) I see little to suggest that Brazil will enter Rio 2014 as favourites, or even in the top 3.

    Like you say, friendlies are for experimenting with the team in the run up to the big competitions. If I were a Brazil fan I'd be worried that the likes of Lucas Leiva and Ramires were picked ahead of promising talents such as Phillipe Coutinho, Ganso and Douglas Costa. Whilst I don't doubt the abilities of Lucas and Ramires (playing for top EPL side and a winner of the Bola de Ouro at that) I feel the Brazilian public and international fans aplenty would rather see these talent rich youngsters get their chance now as Brazil build their team towards 2014. Sure, they may have wanted to secure a good result against Argentina and therefore played these more defensive minded players, but firstly this isn't the Brazil the fans want to see, and secondly, they didn't.

    It was refreshing to see Ronaldinho back in the squad to add his magic, but personally I was less than inspired by the selections of Lucas and Ramires with the level of young talent in Brazil available, or even the likes of Hernanes, and I firmly believe the Brasil fans back home will echo my sentiments.

  • Comment number 4.

    Tim I was very interested to hear you talk about Erik Lamela on this weeks World Football Phone In podcast. When do you think is the right time for him to leave River Plate and which European club should he join: A big one (like Higuain at Real) or do a Pastore and join a lesser known European club where the fans wont be so expectant.

    Thanks very much,
    SimplyZola.

  • Comment number 5.

    Sounds like England tbh. A set of fans with delusions of grandeur and higher standards than they allow their players to acheive. Uruguay had no expectations, neither did Holland, New Zealand or Germany at the World Cup and that's why they all succeeded so spectacularly, pressure i shuge in Football and the only way players can realize their potential is with support from the fans.

  • Comment number 6.

    I think the "secret" to the technically gifted south american players cab be found outside of club training.

    In Argentina, kids learn to play in the "potrero", small makeshift pitches in the neighbourhood where they play from dawn till dusk (maybe a little less these days with the playstation generation). Its all about using your skills in tight pitches.

    By contrast, in England kids play 11 a-side almost as soon as they can run, meaning that the best players are the tallest and those that can kick a ball hardest and furthest. The players touch the ball much less often than in small-sided games and the chief aim is to whack it as far as possible.

    England does have some technically gifted players like Rooney and Gerrard but its a different type of skill with none of the guile and subtlety of the south americans.

    I think the climate also plays a part, to me its no coincidence that northern european countries provide players with lung-power whilst those form the south of europe are forced to play a slower style due to the heat.

    There is also a cultural difference; in England a crunching tackle is the game's highlight whereas in Argentina fans go to the game hoping to see a nutmeg or a backheel.

  • Comment number 7.

    Great blog Tim!

    I was wondering what the opinion of the whole Messi v Ronaldo is in South America? Are they at all interested? And also, how do they distinguish between CR9 and the 'real' Ronaldo in Brazil?

    https://www.inofftheghost.wordpress.com

  • Comment number 8.

    Driving past some pitches in Montevideo yesterday I seen some kids games being played. It was properly organized (strips and nets on the goals) but the thing that I noticed was the fact the pitch was smaller and (crucially) the goals were half the size. All to often in UK we have the kids on the adult pitches and full size goals. This is one of a few things we need to look at to develop our own kids back home

  • Comment number 9.

    Agree with bosterososvigilante!

  • Comment number 10.

    Hi Tim, I was wondering what you made of Neymar's two performances this week, on Wednesday against Argentina he did a couple of good dribbles but it seemed that he gave the ball away with almost every pass or cross he tried. Then on Sunday he hit a 7 minute hat trick to seal the relegation of Goiás.

    https://southamerican-futbol.blogspot.com/2010/11/neymar-7-minute-hat-trick-vs-goias.html

  • Comment number 11.

    Tim I heard an interview where you called boca argentina's biggest club. They had only about 30,000 people show up yesteday, laughable. River is now lamitadmas1. River led the league in attendance when we finished last in the table. Boca can't even fill its popular section.

  • Comment number 12.

    6. At 6:13pm on 22 Nov 2010, bosterososvigilante wrote:
    I think the "secret" to the technically gifted south american players cab be found outside of club training.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I completely agree with your post and Tim Vickery's words.

    In answer to 1. the secret is not the coaching, it's the culture and way that kids approach the game, and spend their time.

    There are far too many distractions for young english people. Most of the technical work has to be done in the Academies now. I think you will find England producing less instinctive technical footballers now (Best, Gascoigne) and more 'mechanical' players. Actually if we're looking for a blueprint we should look to France and Germany rather than Latin America, as these are successful nations that produce young talent in the Western European environment that we share.

  • Comment number 13.

    Madness as always in South America. Heard Mr. V on 5live t'other week talking about the Peruvian scandals. Interesting one with Bruno, because I usually defend the right of the paying fan to boo at will, but becoming a hindrance to your beloved does appear reality here.

    The age old argument with Brazilian youth talent will never go away. Culture and environment are clear factors but what about the physiological argument? It has been suggested Brazilians are made to play footy, and that the Portuguese influence has only increased the scope for inherited skill. Controversial I know...

  • Comment number 14.

    Apart from booing their own team, I've seen -on TV- Brazilian fans leaving the Stadium early, even in "big" games. Two examples:
    1) Brazil-Uruguay, 2003, WC2006Q:
    First half: Only luck can explain how the game is 2-0 and not 4-0 or 5-0, the Brazilian team playing a superb game.
    Second half: Uruguay scores three goals (actually, one of them is an own goal by a Brazilian defender) and is leading 3-2. With 10 minutes left, Brazil is dominating again, the crowd cheering for Uruguay and booing Brazil unless they come near the penalty area, when they start cheering for Brazil again. Also, many fans start leaving the stadium and do not see Ronaldo -who was absolutely brilliant that night- score the equalizer and come close to scoring a fourth goal.

    Second example: Cruzeiro-Estudiantes, Copa Libertadores final second leg, 2009.
    Estudiantes is leading 2-1 and Cruzeiro is dominating. Should they score an equalizer, the game goes to extra-time (first game had been a tie). However, the fans do not stay to cheer for their team and leave the stadium early. Estudiantes wins in the end.

  • Comment number 15.

    Hi Tim,

    I always stop by to read the latest on what is going on in South America, but out here in Australia we have some South American flair of our own going on, I was wondering if you know anything or what you think about BRUNO CAZARINE, who is currently scoring for fun for Sydney FC and gaining a large fanbase amongst the sky blue faithful.

    Also outstanding at the moment is Adelaide's Marcos Flores of Argentina. Flores is only 25 and looks quite special, do you think he'd be at home in the bigger leagues than the A-League?

  • Comment number 16.

    #5

    What are you on about? Germany didnt have any pressure on them?!?! They always have pressure! Lest we forget they were runners up in Euro 2008. Holland also, alot of pressure. The differnce is they have players who an pass and move a ball under pressure. England dont, pressure or not

  • Comment number 17.

    at Saint Spitfire:

    We are worried not only with those pick ups you said, but with others. However, I think this is quite good, specially if you are thinking ahead trying to find a nice substitute. One of the problems with World Cup squad was that there were no substitute for Kaká, for example. Plus, in 4 years a lot of things may change and those players you mentioned may never be selected again.

    And Ganso is seriously injured (as you may know). Six months at least (I think 3 has passed since then). That is why you did not see him on the list.

    About the article, really nice one. People in Brazil supports their team/athlete in any sport only when they are winning. In every sport. Even the TV. The biggest TV network here only airs Brazilian volleyball/basketball games on the open channel when Brazil is on the finals. So, it is to expect that the ordinary supporter will only matter about sports when they are winning. Formula 1 is another example: people call Rubens and Felipe as bad drivers (to say the least) and keep talking about the good ol' times from Senna - meaning they never really bothered with Formula 1, but only with the sensation of victory.

    If your team loses 2 matches and draw 1, they are already seeking to burn everyone. Alive. If they start winning again, it is all happiness. Brazilian supporters, in general, love their team/national squad when winning. In spite of that, they don't bother. I mean, they bother about complaining and booing.

    Cheers all!

  • Comment number 18.

    Always v Interesting Tim, especially your last para.

    It has been all the rage of the top coaches recently to talk about their team's mentality. Brazil are going to need to overcome it to perform well in 2014. Jonathan Wilson demonstrated how England have done it once, briefly, since losing to the Spanish in 1929. With the Wembley fiasco, allied to the best kids being extracted from the peer group dimishing general learning on a participation level at a young age over here, we are going to have to wait a long time for the harvest from Burton (St George's Park?!?)

    Even Gerrard, arguably our best current player and almost certainly the most committed, looks mechanical when compared to the movement patterns of the French in the first half of the friendly last week. For example, no one in this country at that level is capable of the bit of skill that Nasri produced for his nutmeg as the coup de grace of their superiority to close out the first half. In that moment, it crystalised why kids from different cultures than our own practice for hundreds, if not thousands, of hours. Just for the joy and exhuberance of the moment (not for the money, or the fame, or the chance to get on telly). For the flow. England have no flow, no joy, no imagination

    Count how many times any of our guys in the EPL complete a successful Ronaldinho elastic or something similarly joyous. BTW, Can't wait for 2014 - what a carnival (with or without England).

  • Comment number 19.

    Tim

    How good is the end to this season in the Brasileirão? I thought last year was good but this is shaping up to be just as good if not better. Some questions for you

    1. Who are your Reais on for the title?

    2. Who is joining Grêmio Prudente and Goiás in Série B?

    3. Santo André with back to back relegations? Paying the price for their Paulista campaign?

    https://conmeballs.blogspot.com/2010/11/brasileirao-premiership.html

  • Comment number 20.

    #15

    I know about Bruno Carazine, he almost got Brazil chucked out of the FIFA World Cup.

    https://conmeballs.blogspot.com/2009/12/trouble-at-mill.html

  • Comment number 21.

    Parreira said it best years ago: Brazilian footballers are not born, they're made. For generations Brazil has had a very defined style that has brought the country a lot of success, which, in turn, has generated a strong winning mentality. Brazilians play with a confidence only true champions have, so when kids are growing up in Brazil they know they can win it all like their heroes, playing like their heroes. Only Italy and Argentina have that mentality that makes them believe in their own style almost to the point that not winning is attributed to a freak occurrence.

  • Comment number 22.

    As Tim states, there is no secret, just a massively higher number of players to pick from.

    In the UK we have only 60m people to start with. Then take out all of those who wish to do something other than sport (I would suggest a far higher percentage than in Brazil). Then take out all those who with to do other sports (Again much higher than in Brazil).

    You are then left with a small number of kids who actually want to play the game from which to pick the most talented. It would not surprise me at all if the numbers were around 100 Brazilians to every Brit that has the want to go all the way in Football.

  • Comment number 23.

    22 hackerjack you miss the mark entirely... outrageous! And the statement about a higher percentage of Brazilians wanting to do something other than sport! And the speculation that in Brazil 'other' sports are not as popular as 'other' sports in the UK? Stereotyping a bit maybe?

    You leave out example of countries that do not fit Brazil's socioeconomic profile and still produce many more players (and WC contending teams) than England. And this does not account for the 'new' multicoloured, poliethnic England where there are tens of thousands of kids who would rather play football.

    Think of countries like France, Holland, then add Italy and Germany, now Spain and Portugal. Four of these have won WC's and produce incredible talent and at least for the last 40 years at a much higher rate than England; one was finalist 3 times and consistently produces the best European individual players since the 70's (Cruyff, Van Basten, Gullitt, Neeskens, Krol, Bergkampp, Davids, Reikjart, Snidjer, Van etc.) Well... are there other occupations in Holland? Pleease!

    I could draw up a similar long list of French and German players... let's not mention Italy. C'mon, even Uruguay does better than England now, and you could fit 5 Uruguays into London alone.

    There has to be a huge historical anchor weighing down English (or British) football. It very well could be that coaching in the UK is behind the times, especially at the developmental stages... and maybe the Premiership might not be doing enough to ensure that the economic benefits of the league trickle down to the foundations.

    I was watching the ATP World Tour Finals matches yesterday and was struck by how slick a show that was, from a distance almost like a video game, Cirque du Soleil or a theatre performance, the lighting and the FX...but so many miles removed from the true essence of tennis... I think that there is a loss of essence in football too... watch out for those marketing geniuses taking over the public realm to turn a buck. Now the gladiators are brought to the circus from everywhere (like Le Cirque) and the spectacle trascends borders: same thing might be happening to your belove English game...

  • Comment number 24.

    I think a combination of hackerjack and marcelao's statements would sum it up for England, and let's not forget the culture too, wehere unfortunately most kids would like to be binge drinking on the weekends... whereas there is a slight different mindset in the rest of europe.

    But not all is their fault, how many "No ball games" signs do we see in Brasil?

  • Comment number 25.

    marcelao – we’re going off the beaten track a bit with this one, but I would suggest that hackerjack has a valid point.

    We, in Western Society, have far more options open to us when it comes to spending our leisure time. It depresses me no end when I visit my sister and find my nephews always in front of a video game – whether that’s their Wii, their Nintendos, their laptops. It’s a struggle to get them to read a book, let alone partake in a sport. We had a kid at my work place last week for “work experience” – I asked him what his hobbies were and he said “playing on the Xbox”.

    I run a parks football team on a Saturday, and grass roots football in this country is dying on it’s arse, the standard has dropped substantially - even in the last ten years. We meet on a Saturday outside a pub – you will see the same young lads watching the lunchtime Sky game in the pub, watching the evening ESPN game in the same pub, having been drinking all afternoon. I follow a League 2 team and know of quite a few people who have stopped watching my team because they can see at least two games in the local pub for the price of their entrance fee. When my League 2 team has a mid-week game, the attendance figures drop off dramatically when there’s a Champions League game on.

    Sky and modern video gaming is killing off football at the lower levels in this country. People talk about the poor coaching in the UK, but if only a fraction of today’s kids are actually getting off their arses and doing something then what chance do we have??

  • Comment number 26.

    Even though they won I was left slightly disappointed in Argentina, considering they were virtually at full strength, playing a largely youthful and experimental Brazilian team, I thought Argentina would have seen this match as an excellent opportunity to gain revenge for some of the heavier defeats they've suffered at the hands of their arch-rivals in recent years; instead, for me, Brazil looked the better side and could count themselves unlucky to have lost. Ironically, Menezes team seemed to have the exact opposite problems to Dunga’s Brazil; where's Dunga’s team struggled to create, but were clinical with their finishing, Menezes team showed a real creative spark, but lacked a cutting edge. It will be interesting to see if Menezes considers bring back Luis Fabiano as a stop gap until either Pato can prove his long term fitness or an alternative striker can be found.
    As for Neymar and Robinho, well, at 18, Neymar has plenty of time to learn, and lets hope he does, because it was so frustrating to see him torment the Argentinean defence with his dribbling only to undo all his own good work by pitifully throwing himself to the ground. Sadly, everyone has long since grown use to these kind of antics from Robinho, who in my mind, will turn out to be a 'what if' type of player; he has the talent, but not the right mentality and I personally think he should lose his place in the national team to an inform Nilmar.
    Saint Spitfire, Lucas and Ramires have preformed well under Menezes so far and I thought along with Elias played well against Argentina, where they functioned well as a unit offering good protection to their defence and fluidity and incisiveness in possession. Also, Ganso would be first choice for Menezes, but he's out injured for 6 months, while Coutinho has been in the last couple of squads, so I'm not sure your criticism is valid. Personally, as a neutral, I think Brazils fans should be pretty happy with the potential of Menezes team, they may not be world beaters yet, but in 4 years time I think a number of their highly talented youngsters will be amongst the best players in the world.
    As for Argentina, well any team that can rely on the genius of Messi will always have a chance, and along with Spain, Argentina surely must have the best attacking talent in international football. My concern though is with the defence; it cost them dearly in the last world cup and although it looks stronger under Batista that's only because he's brought back so many veterans, sooner or later he must rebuild, but I think, worryingly, that will now be delayed until after the Copa America, by which time Brazil will have a significant head start in preparation for 2014.

  • Comment number 27.

    Tim, as usual an inspired piece - specially as it focus on an aspect that perhaps no one else is thinking about at the moment, how will the Selecao react to the crowd's pressure, playing at home.

    However, on this topic, I do have a comment about an argument that you have not contemplated in your article - and that would be nice to see a debate about.

    I agree with the view, also aired by some of the comments from readers, that support from the stands in Brazil is a lot more cynical, and that spectators turn too quickly against their club - I've seen my own team Corinthians suffer from it countless times despite our support self styling itself as "Fiel" (or the Loyal in a free translation). What I have a doubt about, though, is whether this will be a factor in the WC considering that the profile of the supporters that will actually attend games will be entirely different. Usually, the club support is made up of organized groups that incite the rest of the public to specific behaviour, many times aggressive or even violent. I would imagine however that allocated seating, heavy security and the competition for tickets (thus pricing out many usual suspects) will dismantle such groups. The fact we will have a large portion of neutrals from other countries and family groups could also be a factor for a less critical crowd, more cheerful than bitter.

    I appreciate your commentary was not only about the support from the stands, but also extensive to the pressure coming from the public on the street, from the press etc. However, within the 90 minutes of each match, I hope the Brazilian people can show appreciation for the sport and happiness for hosting the event, as opposed to scary chants and unreasonable behaviour.

  • Comment number 28.

    A particularly interesting post today given the recent propensity of English fans to boo their own club (both Spurs and Arsenal this season) and country. I find it difficult to see what a fan would get out of going to a game and boo their own player. Doesn't seem like much point in going in the first place if that is what you are going to do. I see you mention that the coach substituted both players who were originally booed. I wonder whether it was because their performances were so bad or that they were worried about the mental aspect of taking the flak.

    https://goodfeetforabigman.wordpress.com

  • Comment number 29.

    "Phillipe Coutinho, Ganso and Douglas Costa." instead of Lucas and Ramires??! Those are attacking mids, not holding or even centre mids! Douglas Costa and Coutinho are midgets who can't tackle for their life. When (if) Gaso is healthy, he will naturally play in Ronaldinho's position. Ronaldinho who has no business in the National team. Hernanes should've been there instead.

    The problem of Brazils team is their lack of any physical presence on the pitch. The few player who have any are in fact Lucas, Ramires, and the defenders. All others are lightweight and/or very short. We need to bring the physical game back to the national team if we want to win anything. The good things about Dunga's side should not be forgotten because of his mistakes. And by the way, Robinho is a common mistake.

    Felipe Melo must be called back! I know some don't see quality in him, but I will side with Juventus (who unloaded Diego and kept Felipe) and say he is a good player and his physical presence is much needed especially when Brazil faces players like Mascherano. Dunga bossing Argentina for years was no accident; Argentina had a problem playing a taller stronger side, but they have no problem playing Meneses' Brazil because they are as weak physically and not as talented (we've got no Messi).

  • Comment number 30.

    marcelao, totally with you in that critique, hackerjack as incredibly unfortunate in his comments @22.

    It is undeniable that from quantity comes quality - so the fact that Brazil has a big population, with a high percentage of boys willing to have a go at football, does help. But, if for anything, the lack of structure leads to a lot of waste. For any prodigy that pops up playing for major clubs in Brazil, I am sure there must be two or three that went astray due to lack of supervision and support during teenage years, to the need to support family with "proper" jobs - a problem that England doesn't have.

  • Comment number 31.

    The criticism of "boo culture" among Botafogo fans must be preceded by some explanations. I absolutely despise this practise, but there is some reason in it.
    Lucio Flavio is a player that no longer has space in the club. Having played for more than 200 games, he is the absolute opposite of what one expects from a captain. He hides himself from the ball and never has decided a match, despite being a technical player with good crossing and kicking skills. His defense ability is inexistent. Leandro Guerreiro, on the other side, is a very commited player, but had very bad mistakes that resulted in goals in at least four matches in the tournament, including one against Internacional. He is, in the absence of L. Flavio, our "second" captain. Marcelo Cordeiro, finally, is a poor player, and the media has said that R$ 300.000,00 (circa US$ 150.000,00) has been paid by Botafogo to Internacional as a penalty, since the player is on loan. His performance was terrible, as those of L. Flavio and Guerreiro. It must also be said that both our "captains" were replaced during the match. This must be the first time in the history of football.
    To all this must be added the two ridiculous previous collective exhibitions, away to Avaí and Ceará, that resulted in only two points. These draws took Botafogo from title hopeful to fourth place contender (a place that only qualifies for Libertadores if Palmeiras or Goiás fail to win the Sulamericana -the equivalent of Europa League - against LDU or Independiente). The performance against Internacional was equally poor.
    It was also left away that the fans cheered the team to the draw after the sequence of boos, and that the crowd of 23.000 was a good one considering the fact that the team threw away title chances with poor and coward exibitions in the two previous matches.
    Despite me being completely against the booing of the team during a match, it is a pity that one of the few Botafogo mentions in the blog was so derogatory.

  • Comment number 32.

    Man, do we need some Brazilian booers here in La Boca!!! The idiocy of cheering Palermo's sequoia-like nimbleness and speed Sunday after Sunday escapes my understanding... please bring some South to La Bombonera!!!

  • Comment number 33.

    Haha.

    Tim could write a blog full of 1s and 0s and there would be still be people saying

    "great blog tim!, better than mcnulty"
    "never disappoint me timo"
    "fascinating read tim, very insightful"

    Its amazing the criticism that gets level at Phil Mcnulty

  • Comment number 34.

    @ #22. hackerjack

    Some good points my friend. You also have to consider that of this 60 million, roughly 50% will be female, and therefore unable to play the elite male game.

    That is 30 million compared to 95 million in Brazil. A huge difference.

  • Comment number 35.

    Tim, I was wondering what you think of jucilei, elias and dentinho of corinthians. Do you think they would play well in the premier league, especially with arsenal. I think Jucilei is a really good strong defensive midfielder that would be great cover, or even replace alex song if the time came, and that he has very good dribbling skills for some one so stocky. Elias seems like a decent midfielder with good pace that could play behind the strikers or wing like jadson or ilsinho from shaktar. And ever since I started watching the brasilerao I always thought dentinho was a good winger. Its nice that elias and jucilei got their first callups, now I just hope they come to arsenal, so we can drop denilson, rather have jucilei or elias then denilson!

  • Comment number 36.

    And their only in their early 20's

  • Comment number 37.

    Home field advantage pressure is something we won't have to worry about if the Panorama Special does what so many say it will do to our bid for 2018.

  • Comment number 38.

    #6

    I'd go one step further. You note the playstation generation in Argentina. I'm in England and looking out through the window - hot and sunny it ain't.

    I think everyone loves a kick about but when the weather gets cold, wet and / or windy (as it seems to be for a disproportionate part of the year!) what do you expect a child to do? Freeze and do keepy-uppy or emulate their heroes in their preferred team (with or without mates) in the warmth and comfort of their own home?

    Climate and (relative) wealth have a lot to account for in terms of sporting achievement here, trends that I don't see as reversible (and which impact on other outdoor sports). Add to this the ones who are committed enough to turn out to play for the under 11s etc, getting barked at by parents and coaches to kick it out or track back whilst running out of puff on full-size pitches; it's not hard to see where many problems in England lie.

    Culturally, others have noted that the big kids are most likely to thrive in this environment - what no-one is touching on is that they're also the most likely to engage in bullying (sweeping generalisation I accept). Whilst it may be universal, I've no doubt that some of the smaller kids, who may have the ability, will lose confidence in their dribbling ability after getting flattened by the big lads ('crunching tackles' as they might be referred to here, or fouls elsewhere), and so their style of play may change (give it straight away to a bigger kid or he'll cream you later). The bigger kids, who have the confidence to attack will find themselves picked in the forward positions and hey presto, we have a model for the long ball (no-one need worry about passing it out from the back).

    Sorry, I hijacked a blog about South American football. The France match is still raw (along with the World Cup, and most tournaments post 1996).

    Interesting blog Tim

  • Comment number 39.

    As someone who never boos, as I can't see how it will have anything but a negative effect on my team, though this probably helps the opposition too, I've sometimes wondered if fans are ever justified in booing their own players. If a player isn't giving 100%, maybe, but that's really for the manager to decide, and be it on his head if he lets it go.

    I've lived in Japan for over 8 years now, and can't remember ever hearing 1 boo. Fans may express their dissatisfaction before and after a game, but as far as I'm aware, never during a game. Outwardly, the Japanese may not appear as passionate as other fans, but they have official cheerleaders to orchestrate seriously taken chanting and singing. And this support is duplicated in many other of their sports. For example, from March until their victory in the Nippon Baseball Series in November, supporters of the little fancied Chiba Lotte Marines didn't stop making a racket more akin to a football atmosphere that any football club in the world would have been delighted to receive. And it's the same year in, year out, regardless of whether they finish top or bottom. And the players are always acknowledging the fans. I'm sure it helps them.

    I was reading on the Manchester City board the other day a City fan saying how the City away support was so much better than the home support, and that the moaners were affecting the home performances. On tv a few years ago, I was watching a New York Yankees baseball game and Derek Jeter was getting lambasted for a blip in his usually phenomenal form. He hung tough and came out of the blip. I wonder if Brazil have some blips in 2014, whether they'll be able to hang tough?

  • Comment number 40.

    Robguima, if you are either a Brasilian fan, or an ojective fan of the beautiful game itself then you'll recognize that Ramires is a marvellous, fantastic RH of both attacking prowess, and the necessary knowledge of the technique and knowhow of what is required to play that position, additionally, he is experienced also at the international level. Douglas, did come on against the Albi Celeste, Ganso is currently out injured, and also plays the playmaker position, which Coutinho does also, and which is different from both Lucas' and Ramires', and so don't worry about us and our chances huh, 'cause we're the perennial reyes del futbol, and when 2014 comes around, if were are not deemed favourites, then the better for our chances pyschologically. Don't forget that in 1958, Feola also employed the use of a sports psychologist, and a rigid disciplinarian approach, and we all know that the rest my friend is adorning the pantheon of history..............

  • Comment number 41.

    @ 34 hackerjack's good points? please read my post no. 23... there is absolutely no relationship between number of quality footballers and population. The difference is somewhere else. Otherwise India and China would be playing the world cup final in 2018 and Indonesia and Nigeria would be playing for bronze... and I doubt this will happen. Well, maybe Nigeria if they get their act together as a team.

    Quality has to do with 1. footballing tradition and 2. utmost reverence for technical skill, which affects that tradition. After that comes the honing of stars, physical training starting at the right age, competitive local leagues, money, a press that does not eat alive the players, etc. A kid grows up in Rio or Porto Alegre seeing the best of the best and imitates or assimilates accordingly. Their coaches played the same 'language'. A kid in Birmingham grows up playing imitating... who? What is English football right now? Where are the second eleven backing Capello.

    I played forward once in a Scottish team and was asked to defend like Mascherano everytime we lost the ball. Here? A skilled South American player would track back a bit, make a couple of head fakes and lay off; forget about sliding tackles or 90 meter dashes backwards to their corner flag. This is what I mean by revering skill above all. When I see English fans swooning over Rooney defending in and around the rearguard it makes me cringe.

    Yet for all that depth, the leagues in Brazil and Argentina have the same number of teams, so for the 20 teams in the EPL there are 20 teams in Argentina's Primera or 20 in the Brasileirao, and so on and so forth fro the lower divisions... so the best players get absorbed/hired/used by the same number of rosters... despite the diference in population size of each country. Basically there should not be quantitative differences between leagues or footballing cultures(btw Argentina has 20 million less people than the UK). What we all complain about over here is that the best players are in Europe or Qatar or Mexico.

  • Comment number 42.

    #40, you misread what I wrote and I am indeed Brazilian (and thus support Brazil). I was criticizing a post above where #3 complained about Lucas and Ramires being selected above D. Costa, Coutinho, and Ganso. My point being that they are different type of players, that was all. In fact I think Ramires and Lucas are fine players (especially being 23). We do need to add height to the team though.

    And I do worry about our side... when was the last time we've won a world cup without playing a very pragmatic, defensive and physical game? that's right, the 70s. 3 holding mids in 94 and 3 holding mids in 02.

    Brazil aren't the globetrotters; they don't go play in the world cup to entertain the crowd. They (should) play to win! In a competition like the world cup (same with CL), a team cannot undertake much risk because of how definitive a loss can be.

    Meneses has got to choose between pleasing the Brazilian media (and the crowd) vs building a competitive side.

  • Comment number 43.

    Good Aftenoon Tim,

    If people in Brazil demanded of our politicians the same they demand from our clubs and players, we would have a better place to live. No Doubt you realized that long ago.
    I hope people start paying less attention to football and focus on other issues...Anyway I agree with you when you say that mental toughness will be quite necessary to the brazilian team in 2014...

  • Comment number 44.

    Could you just assume that the people who read this blog know what the Copa Libertadores is?

  • Comment number 45.

    Just got round to catching up with this. Interesting, sounds like Brazil will be subject to possibly even more hype that England will be if we ever land a tournament again. Obviously, we can't do anything about fans booing, they've paid their money, but as a Tottenham fan, about 10 years ago our fans got into the habit of booing new players (Ben Thatcher having a 'mare in his first game springs to mind) and I got very frustrated at the lack of patience - surely if you want a player/your team to do well you give them a certain amount of support!

    Re the bringing through of quality players, there's clearly a mix of factors involved here. My personal feeling is the way we coach young players is the key factor, straight into 11 a side competitive games, where its important not to lose so power and size dominate. Maybe population size is offset by the facilities availabile (schools etc) but I also definitely think I see far less kids playing football here nowadays which also may start to hurt us.

  • Comment number 46.

    Hey, Tim!

    Do you think Fluminense will really be the champion this time so old Ezequiel can have a moment of happiness in his late years?

  • Comment number 47.

    Interesting Blog.
    And I thought the English bunch were fickle .....

  • Comment number 48.

    41. At 6:46pm on 23 Nov 2010, marcelao wrote:
    @ 34 hackerjack's good points? please read my post no. 23... there is absolutely no relationship between number of quality footballers and population. The difference is somewhere else. Otherwise India and China would be playing the world cup final in 2018 and Indonesia and Nigeria would be playing for bronze... and I doubt this will happen. Well, maybe Nigeria if they get their act together as a team.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Hey, you need to wake up and smell the coffe my friend.

    We are not talking populations. We are talking percentage of populations. Football is the national sport of England and Brazil. This cannot be said of China, Indonesia, India etc.

    So if we were to take the percentage of the male population in each of the aforementioned countries, of youths who participate in some form of football regularly - you would find it to be much higher in Brazil and England.

    Therefore, if you say it is roughly 75% of all male youths in England and Brazil, then 75% of 95 million is a lot more than 75% of 30 million.


    What gets me, and i'd like Tim to tell me, so come on Tim.

    One reason I feel the Spanish are so far ahead of us is that, wherever you go in Spain, there appears to be these small, 5 a side pitches, with red and white metal goalposts with nets. It is a concrete surface, and these are absoulutely everywhere, and free to use.

    In this counrty if I want to play 5 a side on facilities as good as these, I am bound by having to find 9 other people willing to pay £5 each.

    Is this the case in South America Timm?

    The idea is fantastic. Concrete surface, means that your bigger sliding tackle players have no chance. It is important to keep possession, and the near full size goals with nets gives a realistic target to aim at. Kids who continually shoot to find the corners of an undersized 5 a side goal are not mimicing the skill needed to beat a goalkeeper in a full sized nets

  • Comment number 49.

    Interesting question on Brazilian youth system and how it differs from the English way of doing things:

    I agree that a lot of the technique, skill and strength comes from outside the youth systems

    I don't have any experience of Brazil, bug having lived in Argentina, young kids will play 'competitively' with their older brothers and fathers from a very young age. When I say competitively I mean it!.. there is very little lee way given. Its very much a case that you jump in at the deep end and have to learn fast how to hold on to the ball, beat players and know when to pass the ball.

  • Comment number 50.

    Thanks for the advice... I was just having my second cup... and very good point re: small pitches in public places... here in South America a green (sometimes dusty) patch anywhere just does it and two sports bags or sweaters for goal posts. If there are only a handful of kids, the goals are narrowed to 4', there is no goalie and you can only score from close range.

    I posted on another of Tim's blog a few months ago that good lush humid green pitches help develop a game of long passes (or crosses), long range shooting and sliding tackles. So tear up those beautiful pitches and see what develops in 20 years.

    Your response just picks at one of the arguments I made. The context of other statements made is not mentioned. Let's see...

    What hackerjack wrote is the following:

    ''As Tim states, there is no secret, just a massively higher number of players to pick from. In the UK we have only 60m people to start with. Then take out all of those who wish to do something other than sport (I would suggest a far higher percentage than in Brazil). Then take out all those who with to do other sports (Again much higher than in Brazil). You are then left with a small number of kids who actually want to play the game from which to pick the most talented. It would not surprise me at all if the numbers were around 100 Brazilians to every Brit that has the want to go all the way in Football.''

    My response included a rebuke to the unproven assertion that a bigger percentage of the total population (of Brazilians) would choose football than in the UK. Says who? The funnel eventually results in the same number of quality professionals roughly speaking. And there is the even more outrageous speculation that more Brits would in proportion choose other sports than Brazilians. Very probably Mr. Hackerjack has never been to Brazil and made this assertions based on stereotype. It is true though that footballing culture is not strong in India, China and Indonesia.

    In post No. 23 I argued (I believed strongly and irrefutably but heck I am just a buddy...) that Holland, with a smaller population than the UK, and similar standard of living and climate to the UK has produced hundreds more high quality footballers than the UK over the last 40 years approximately. Do you disagree with this? I am a bit weak at math but maybe you could recalculate the numbers with regard to Holland. Or recalculate inserting 40 million for Argentina? Let's leave tiny Uruguay out... that would cause a short circuit in your whole positivist calculator approach.

  • Comment number 51.

    I am a big fan of sport psychology and very intrigued as to whether this would work with the culture of the Brazilian youth, and indeed football in general. I certainly believe that the England team would benefit greatly from some psychological methods.
    Anyone who has followed British Cycling in the past few years will know what wonders it has done for them, however can it be employed to assist in a sport which is a team game rather than a solo effort? Players win games but teams win trophys

  • Comment number 52.

    Number 48. Post 50 above was a response to your comments.

    My point is: numbers do not really matter when it comes to player quality, whether we talk absolute numbers or percentages. I think we have to look somewhere else.

    This same argument can be made in so many other sports... tennis, basketball, volleyball, track and field, etc.

  • Comment number 53.

    Tim: Quick question, and I'd really appreciate your honesty.

    Are you surprised with the level of interest and knowledge of the South American leagues from the UK?

    Personally, I am surprised how knowledgable us Brits are on the South American game, particularly Brazil.

    Or perhaps you think we should all be in to it a lot more? Or you are impressed with the knowledge, but are surprised more people aren't interested?

    I first caught a game on holiday in Italy (it was a washout and they show Brazilian games on terestrial TV) and Santos played someone in the Brazilian Cup. Robinho had a decent game but Neymar outshone him. Since then I've watched as much as possible here in the UK.

  • Comment number 54.

    There is also a cultural difference; in England a crunching tackle is the game's highlight whereas in Argentina fans go to the game hoping to see a nutmeg or a backheel.
    ---------------------------
    Have to disagree with this... I'm not aware of a single person who watches football and would rather see a crunching tackle over a tasty bit of flair. Good tackles are to be commended, but even so... everyone loves a nice bit of skill.

  • Comment number 55.

    Dear Tim,

    I'm curious about your thinking as to why Brazil prodice so much young talent. The idea they have less options, speand less times in school, they love football and the population base (particularly the ratio of children) is very high. I agree with this, makes perfect sense and it is almost certainly Brazil's 'secret' (though hardly a secret when everyone knows.)

    What I'm curious about is why Brazil use these circumstances to churn out promising youngsters like a production line but China, Russia, Nigeria do not. And countries like India produce (to my knowledge) any!

    All these countries are comparitavely poor, have a similar ratio of children, schooling is of a comparable standard and length and they all have huge populations. In China and India's case more than five times Brazil's population.

    I can partially answer the question myself, China is not as football mad as Brazil and in India football is at best a minority sport. But Nigeria and Russia live and breath football and only football, yet they produce world class players at a similar rate as westernized, comparably affluent countries such as Sweden (20m people), Wales (4m people) and Ireland (8m people) who you argue are less likely to produce as many amazing youngsters as Brazil.

    Can I tentatively, and perhaps cynically suggest that many Brazilian youngsters get labelled potential superstars and wonderkid's partially because they are simply FROM Brazil? If you are a 18, potentially talented (I don't mean amazingly skilled, but merely promising) and Brazilian do you have a better chance of being signed than an identically talented Chinese, Russian or Australian person?

  • Comment number 56.

    Hi Tim,

    Just wondering how you think the final of the Copa Sudamericana will go between the most successful team in South American history Independiente and Goias, im hoping Independiente's history in South American competition should be a great advantage to them over a brasilian team I know little about. A big incentive for both teams is winning the tournament will gain them access in to next years Copa Libertadores. Ironic its the final as both teams are struggling in there domestic leagues, having the second leg in Buenos Aires should be a great advantage to the "king of cups" Independiente, hopefully the glory days are back to the red side of Avellaneda.

  • Comment number 57.

    @Joe G

    Its quite an oversimplification to say India and Nigeria are comparatively as poor as Brazil.

    Lets take these 3 countries plus UK.

    GDP Per Capita
    UK: $35,257
    Brazil: $8,220
    India: $1,032
    Nigeria: $1,092

    In other words, the difference in GDP Per Capita between UK and Brazil (4,3x) is smaller than between Brazil vs India or Nigeria (about 8x)

    There is poor... and VERY poor.

    Also... these countries have a similar ratio of children?? What?? Pal, just compare birth rates across these countries. Russia has negative birth rates. China almost nil. Brazil´s is similar to the US. India and Nigeria have very high ones.

  • Comment number 58.

    @Bosterosos Vigilante: I assure you that Grêmio fans go to the stadium expecting to see crunching tackles.

    @7 In Off The Ghost:

    when Ronaldo first appeared in Brazil, he was called Ronaldinho (Ronnie, or little Ronaldo), because he was small (not anymore, specially around the waist) and liked by everyone.

    then R9 appeared. Also a Ronaldo. By then, Ronaldo was already in europe, but he was still called Ronaldinho by most of the press. The press from Rio Grande do Sul then started calling R9 as Ronaldinho and called Ronaldo as Ronaldo (same as they called him in Europe). But the rest of the countrie´s press would still call Ronaldo as Ronaldinho and thus, R9, was called Ronaldinho Gaúcho to differentiate between the two.(Gaúcho is the gentilic for people born in Rio Grande do Sul state).

    Its quite common in fact to differentiate players with the same name in a team with the gentilic. For example... Juninho Paulista was the juninho who played in England. Paulista is the gentilic for people born in São Paulo state. And there was Juninho Pernambucano (the one which made fame in Lyon), from Pernambuco state.


    Anyway, after a long time, the brazilian press in general started calling Ronaldo as Ronaldo, but R9 is still called Ronaldinho, although its rarer nowadays to call him Ronaldinho GAUCHO.

  • Comment number 59.

    as for the specific subject of the blogpost, I think there is a difference in BOOING between club supporters in Brazil. The booing is noticeable worse in SOME clubs.

    Palmeiras is famous for having the Turma do Amendoin (Peanut Gang). The name comes, supposedly, for in old time they threw peanuts in the players not commited. Nowadays, they are loud jeerers and the only thing they know is to criticize the team and players.

    I am biased but I think jeering is not that bad in Grêmio. Truth that from times to times the crowd DO pick on some players who seem to not be commited. But it hardly happens when the team is doing well on the pitch. So, Botafogo lost a match. They are at the top half of the table. Fighting for a Libertadores spot. And they are being booed? Several different players? THAT is rare at Grêmio. Booing one or other player when the team is near the relegation zone and some players performing poorly match in and match out, that is more common.

  • Comment number 60.

    Thank you AcesHigh! Right on and informative commentary.

    The subject of booing deserves a bit of deconstruction if I am allowed to say so. The five big ones in Argentina are a point in case.

    Here in Argentina, 'hinchadas' grow reputations and these vary from team to team. There are well established idiosyncrasies and these even vary within a same following. For instance, River Plate has great support in the 'popular' but the season ticket holders (plateistas) show a sanguinity towards their own players that borders on the psichopatic. I have been to the most expensive seats in the Monumental many times and the swearing and hysteria starts when the team exits the tunnel out on the field, 10 minutes before the match starts. Should the team lose at home, well... watch out! Stupidly placed pressure on a team that needs patience, because they are not lacking in young talent. I would say the attitudes of the two groups play off each other, but the plateistas are the ones the players can hear the most as they all linger in the clubhouse post match within players' earshot.

    There are teams like San Lorenzo, widely supported across the country, with really diehard fans, the most creative songs and non stop singing. Thier plateistas are a bit crazy too, but generally a couple of notches down from River's. When they went down in 1982 their following was huge, breaking attendance records everywhere they went. They had no stadium but they filled the Bombonera and the Monumental several times and moved up the next season after winning the B hands down. They are now entering the fire-the-coach and some players mode, and they are known to turn on them ugly, as in Ezeiza a couple of years ago when they were attacked as soon as they got oof the plane bringing them back from Libertadores elimination.

    Racing Club has great support although they were not as great when demoted. Regardless, their patience has been tested these last few years, as their badly managed and financially strapped team was on the verge of demotion again. An infusion of cash now affords them one of the best rosters in Primera and this is starting to show. Look out for Gio Moreno... what a player!

    Independiente's fans although large in numbers, have been quiet for many years and somehow they have grown a reputation for 'pecho frios'. Fortunately the team is doing better now (they played a great game Thursday and eliminated Liga D de Quito, one of the strongest teams in SAmerica) and maybe they can build on that great atmosphere in Avellaneda on Thursday. I always liked them as I grew up during the glory Copa years with Santoro, Navarro, Maldonado, Bernao, Mura, etc.

    In the case of my beloved Boca, the level of following is incredible across the country. But this unconditional support (please do not pay attention to previous posts about a half empty Bomobonera as this is not true) I think is backfiring. I think that the taste and demand for a decent level of footballing performance has decreased and what people are accepting as a standard now is beffudling to me. The credit for all that success in the first half of the deacde should have been spent by now! The team loses and loses, especially at home and people still do not boo. The idiocy of the fans' love affair with Palermo and Riquelme clouds the indifference (disdain?) that the fans feel for the rest of the team. These two guys are two ghosts of their former pasts; an occasional goal here, Palermo on the ground half the game, a nice Roman free kick there, a good pass and a bit of jogging... a semester on the sidelines for Roman, with a number of ailments and knicks, a bunch of journeymen and players over the hill, a flirt with the soon-to-be- worried-about Promocion and a posse of fumbling club directors... etc. Five or six coaches in two years... still no booing! It is a slow descent into football hell... is it not apparent to everyone that something stinks?

  • Comment number 61.

    And to prove my point about Botafogo fans, they WON today against Grêmio Prudente (the small generic Grêmio), taking their fight for 4th place to the last match (against Grêmio at Olímpico, in POA).

    Even though they won, their fans were booing the team the entire time! Some of their own fans are complaining about all the booing.

  • Comment number 62.

    Nevermind Botafogo, the most idiosyncratic booing really was at Palmeiras yesterday… after scoring first in the early minutes against Fluminense, their fans turned against the goalscorer and the keeper that denied the visitors with a couple of good saves. The reason? Winning meant Palmeiras would help its bitter rival Corinthians who is fighting Fluminense for the league. Eventually the so called "supporters" got what they wanted as their understandably deflated players handled victory back to Fluminense. Shameful. And there are people that still think the Brasileirao is better than the European leagues.

  • Comment number 63.

    Hi Tim
    I think you've gone for the easy answer in the youth football question. There are kids skipping school to play football all over the world and only Brazil and Argentina continually produce the best players . As a matter of fact, even inside Brazil there is a geographical division. The great majority of our greatest players were born in the states of Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais. Domingos da Guia, Leonidas da Silva, Zizinho, Garrincha, Didi, Nilton Santos, Gerson, Jairzinho, Carlos Alberto, Ademir da Guia, Zico, Romario, Ronaldo in Rio and Pele, Tostão , Reinaldo, Cerezo in Minas. Maybe it's something in the water or in the music.

  • Comment number 64.

    in brasilian futebol we have saying 'com brasileiro nao ha quem possa' and without sounding arrogant, i truly believe that playing to the best of natural ability there is not internatinal team that can compete with brasil. come close yes, but not best the selecao. this is why i think this is a pertinent issue. brasil of 2010 world cup melted psychologically when found themselves in an unfamiliar position against holland. they just did not know how to cope with it. and i'm glad mano is taking steps to rectify it. and yes while the pressure of 200mm ppl come 2014 at home will be unbearable, all the team can do really is to best prepare for it and be ready. that copa will need talent and luck yes, but also big mental strength from brasilian players. you can on work on it but the brasilian supporters should know better and realise that with us on the selecao's side we can give them the biggest boost possible while making the stadium inferno, absolute horror for the opposition team

  • Comment number 65.

    i think we did well against argentina, just fell asleep in last few mins to the magic of la pulga

    pato has serious injury problems with this continuing we cannot rely him as our #9. great talent he is, but mano will be shrewed to bring some more center forwards into the picture. we have time thankfully and no dearth of brialliant brasilian players who can play striker role. we only need 2-3 good back up options in a 4-2-3-1 setting. work is slow but sure...

  • Comment number 66.

    I honestly believe that if Brazil does not win the cup in 2014, somebody (player or coaching staff) will get seriously injured or worse killed. The sad case of Andrés Escobar springs to mind

 

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