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Comments by YACCS
Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Brazil open thread

REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker (GERMANY)
Brazil's Ronaldinho kicks the ball during a training session
in Berlin June 12, 2006 during the World Cup 2006 tournament.

OK, here it is., the thread about the men who practice the beautiful game.

Everybody loves Brazil, except those who don't

Well, here's the place to discuss Brazil, love them or hate them.

Update: Roooting for Brazil in Calcutta
By Sanjoy Majumder
BBC News, Calcutta

A carnival atmosphere has enveloped the city of 10 million, which is India's football capital.

While most Indians prefer to watch the national cricket team in action, people here are passionate about football.

"It is a game for the masses," says Raja Sen, a teenager who plans to watch each and every World Cup match.

"This city has a footballing culture - on any day, you can see groups of boys playing football in the streets or in the parks."

Rooting for Brazil

The biggest public space in the city is the sprawling Maidan - a vast, green openness often described as the city's lungs.

A busy street market takes up one corner. It is here that the city's football fans come to stock up.

Flags and buntings in Kalighat, Calcutta
The green and gold colours of Brazil stand out in the crowd
And although the market is awash with flags and t-shirts of all the participating teams, it is the green and gold colours of the Brazilian team that are the hot favourites.

"You'll have to come tomorrow," says one shopkeeper to a disappointed young fan.

"I'm out of medium Brazil shirts - only extra-large available."

India is not participating in the World Cup - but there is little doubt that everyone here is backing the South American nation.

"The Brazilians are artists, they are so skilful," says Sishir Lal Banerjee, 65.


"I dream of becoming a professional footballer," he says.

But the game has little support in the country. Abhijit and his friends play every evening in a run-down neighbourhood park

Why are Brazil so good?

The story of Brazil's domination of world football starts with the sport's uniquely important position in national life.

"The national football team," says its coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, "is the symbol of national identity, the only time the nation gets together."

Football is the single most important thing in Brazilian national life
"Football in Brazil is like a religion," adds Carlos Alberto Torres, captain of the side that won the 1970 World Cup.

"Everybody talks about it all the time - not only now we are close to the World Cup.

"This is the difference between Europe and Brazil. After the World Cup, people in Europe start to think about life, business. Here in Brazil, we breathe football 24 hours a day."

According to Parreira, no-one is quite sure why.

"Sociologists, psychologists have tried to explain, but nobody can find one reason," he says.

"Maybe because we didn't have to fight for independence, we don't have earthquakes or things like that. We didn't go to war."

Journalist Alex Bellos, author of Futebol - A Brazilian Way of Life, believes it was also due to the relatively late abolition of slavery at the end of the 19th century, and a lack of positive symbols.

Whatever the reason, Brazil very early "recognised football in our future and tradition and (as) our opportunity to communicate to the world that we are powerful," says 1994 World Cup winner Leonardo.

"In the 1930s, we started to organise a team to be competitive in the World Cup, and the 1950s were the beginning of this big dream to make Brazil the best international team in the world," he added.

Losing the final to Uruguay in 1950 was viewed as a national tragedy, but it only heightened the desire to win.

And it led to a little-known aspect of Brazilian football. Believing they had let themselves down through personal weakness and a lack of research, the national side came to see comprehensive preparation and innovative tactics as crucial to success.

Contrary to the popular belief that Brazilian teams are defensively naive, the idea of the modern back four originated in the 1958 World Cup-winning team.

Through a careful evolution of the way they played, Brazil continued to have a tactical lead until 1970.

Allied to detailed planning and a concentration on physical training beyond that in Europe - not to forget the sheer quality of players - Brazil's plan met with unprecedented success. They won three of the four World Cups between 1958 and 1970.

posted by Steve @ 12:20:00 PM

12:20:00 PM

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