For years Brazil has been a superpower of world football. They were the team to beat. Even though their fortunes have dropped recently it would be a fool who would write them off for the next world cup to be held in Brazil in 2014.
Known for its fast flowing nature, trickery and attacking style, the Brazilian squad has been terrifying oppositions in World Cup matches for decades. But what are the reasons that they are so good?
1) In Brazil football is not just a sport
Football in Brazil is close to a religion, and everyone from players to managers to spectators take it very, very seriously. To illustrate, three hours before an international match, you’ll be out of options to deposit a cheque because all the banks close, allowing their employees to prepare for the game. Brazilians also accept nothing less than a win as a result, viewing a draw as a loss. Up against that attitude, you won’t stand much of a chance on the pitch or supporting from the sidelines.
2) Brazil produces some of the best footballers in the world
This was probably true up until a few years ago. I think it is fair to argue now that many of the world´s best players are Spanish and of course the best player in the world in 2012 is either Messi from Argentina or Ronaldo from Portugal. Brazil in 2012 has actually slipped to its lowest ever place in the FIFA rankings.The ultra-rich European leagues are widely regarded as the best in the World, and they are flooded with Brazilians; 600 players to be exact. Superstars such as Robinho, Ronaldinho and Kaka dominated until recently the English, Italian and Spanish leagues, commanding huge salaries and advertising contracts with big name sporting brands. They no longer dominate as they once did. But they still have exceptionally good players. Neymar is still young but it looks increasingly likely he will become the best player in the world within 5 years and there are other very talented young players coming through.
However to crown it all, the best player in the history of soccer is a Brazilian. Pele (or to give him his real name – Edison Arantes do Nascimento) was voted number one in the 2000 FIFA “Player of the Century” poll, amongst numerous other player and fan awards. Scoring an incredible 1281 goals in 1363 games, his talent is qualified by more than just opinion.
3) In Brazil the national football team is more important than club level
As salaries for European teams climb higher, league teams are frequently accused of prioritising “club over country”, with players encouraged by their coaches to focus on international competitions such as the UEFA cup more than those of the national squad, such as the World Cup. Not so in Brazil. Brazilian players have the tendency to view competing in the higher standard of the European leagues as an opportunity to develop and refine their skills in order to stand a better chance for national selection.
4) The Brazil football team is the most successful in the World
The statistics speak for themselves; with 5 World cup wins, Brazil are the most prolific national team on the planet. They are the only team to have qualified for every single World Cup, and their dominance of Latin American football is demonstrated by their successful retention of the Copa America in 2007.
Next time you jog out onto a pitch to play against the Brazilian team (hey, it could happen!) or sit down to watch an international match, be sparing on the optimism; you’ll be betting against some of the most competent and accomplished players on the planet.