If the 1-7 thumping by Germany was an uppercut for Brazil’s football-loving fans, a 0-3 loss to the Netherlands in the third-place playoff on Saturday was the knockout blow.
The question on everyone’s mind is: Where do five-time World Cup champions Brazil go from here? A place they have never been before; a place where there are so many challenges that one can’t figure where to start.
Going into the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Brazil were one of the hot favourites. Not based on their recent performances, but by the simple fact that they were the hosts. Helped by a charismatic and colourful crowd, Brazil were expected to undo the Maracanazo. However, as things panned out, they didn’t go out on a roar, but with a whimper.
The four-week long extravaganza highlighted the deep-rooted problems for a country that was once feared for their O Jogo Bonito (The Beautiful Game), a term coined by the legendary Pele.
Right from the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF), to the strikers, there are massive problems that the Selecao need to fix before Copa America next year. One could have considered the 1-7 thrashing in Belo Horizonte as a one-off had Brazil overcome the highly competitive Netherlands. But that didn’t happen.
Brazil looked equally woeful in defence despite seeing captain Thiago Silva return to the line-up. Upfront, noticeably, Jo led the attack with Fred sitting out. That didn’t change anything. Only Oscar offered some substance.
On the sidelines, Luiz Felipe Scolari’s head seems to be on the line despite CBF’s president elect coming out in his defence before the third-place playoff. Retaining or sacking Scolari is not going to change things around drastically because at the end of the day, managers don’t score or save goals.
The skill and pride factor are concerns that need to be addressed ASAP. World football needs to see Brazil on top of their game. Legacy is not something that should be taken lightly.