Brazil and football are so closely associated that it stays nearly inconceivable the problems facing that state will lead to a lessthan-reasonable World Cup.
No, they’re not going to transfer the 2014 football festival from the sport’s second dwelling. FIFA and Brazil will not let that happen – - nor should they. The political leaders and football authorities should find a means to address legitimate grievances and reveal the financial weight of an event that likely has become too big for its good.
Brazil certainly deserves to host a Cup for the best of reasons: it is the dominant nation within the game, a country whose very international identity is associated with the sport. Nobody has won the World Cup more often and, arguably, nobody has done it for the elan of Brazil during its greatest.
Why else is Pele – - who stepped off the stage like a New York Cosmo in the late 1970s – - still among the most – established figures within the match? It’s because he was the first international star, arriving in 1958 as a 17year old and staying at the very best while tv took the game to each corner of the globe. Those who never saw Pele play nonetheless argue he is the alltime best. Those of us who did, will not disagree. That is not simply because he was clearly one of the most gifted goalscorers and passers, but because his age defined the style which we still demand of the Brazilians.
There is an atmosphere of romanticism relating to this, as the reality is that not all of Brazil’s tournament teams have been that fluid (remember 2002?) and some that didn’t win have actually been somewhat pedestrian, however, the greatest of Brazilian sides and its top players have always had that extra bit of magic.
The 1970 Mexico World Cup-winning side might have become the greatest. That was Pele’s ending, and included the large Carlos Alberto in central defense, along with players like Rivelino, Tostao, Jairzinho, and Gerson. With strikes coming from every position in that squad, the final triumph over Italy was remarkable in its performance, while the most-anticipated match of the tournament, against England, was a vintage.
From the point of view of defining Brazil as “the” football country, the Mexico World Cup was significant because that championship was the one that began the world-wide television age. Pele’s first title in 1958 had electrified the “football world” but not the sports world; FIFA’s World Cup was yet to attain that level. By 1970, even Americans could see the final, albeit in a theatre or sports arena on closed-circuit, or half a year later after the game finally showed up on a broadcast television sports show.
But Brazil’s part in defining the game truly goes back to the age between the two World Wars, Brazilian players exciting the Olympics with a fashion of game different from the Europeans. The emphasis on close ball control, on passing, on individual abilities never changed, even though Brazil’s national team managers have struggled with the task of retaining that tradition while still managing the fitter, more powerful challenges that come in the present day, well prepared opponents.
It is actually rather fitting the current Brazilian team seems to really have a problem that a lot of sides would die for: Luiz Felipe Scolari has so much attacking ability, a lot of players with real genius that he could have trouble getting all of them enough of the highlight.
It’s possible this 2014 staff could look a little like the 1970 side next summer, if Scolari gets the equations right.
That, needless to say, is what authentic lovers of the game desire to see happen. Much as we could appreciate the rate and power of top teams and national teams, it’s that audacious Brazilian approach, the willingness to take on and beat defenders and to try the unexpected that has established the bond between Brazil and its particular admirers.
Brazilian supporters are famous for their colorful costumes, samba drums and passionate support of the “selecao.” For this reason the Confederations Cup was both provocative and instructive: it made sense for a people to utilize football as the platform for protest.
Football, after all, is what people think about when they hear the term Brazil.