You’ll have noticed that things have been very quiet on Brazilfooty in the last couple of months… summer holidays? Olympics? Exams? Actually, I was travelling around Africa, completely out of touch with Brazilian football. Quite a lot has happened since then and my last post (my trip to Santos) on 22 July 2012 so I’ll do a short summary of the main stories below.
If you have anything to say about them, feel like getting something off your chest, asking a question, or starting a debate, go ahead and leave a comment, por favor. I’m in the middle of writing a story about my trip around Africa and may post that here at some stage when I’m done so keep a look out for that.
- Brazil looked set for gold in the London Olympics but managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Brazil’s form was mixed at the tournament but they had played some good football at times but they had by far the strongest team at the Olympics and went into the final as overwhelming favourites against Mexico. Terrible defending and an awful miss in the third minute of injury time by Oscar saw to a 2-1 defeat. And Brazil’s wait for a first Olympic gold for their men’s team continues…
- Despite that Olympic miss, Oscar played well at the tournament and has taken over from Ganso as Brazil’s main playmaker. Ganso has slipped down the pecking order after some lousy form, injuries and, in my opinion, a bad attitude. He went to the Olympics and hardly played. He complained of injuries but when checked out by the medical staff, they couldn’t find anything wrong with him. He used to be Brazil’s big hope for playmaker role at the 2014 World Cup but while his career has gone the wrong way (he has recently signed for São Paulo, will that reinvigorate him?). Oscar’s has gone in the opposite direction. Well done to him. He had a difficult start to the year after São Paulo and Internacional fought a legal battle about his transfer between the two clubs (he moved from São Paulo to Inter a few years ago). With that sorted, he got a big money move to Chelsea and after scoring two great goals against Juventus on his home debut, he has established himself in the team.
- Mano Menezes is under pressure as Brazil boss. He was booed after the seleção struggled to a 1-0 friendly win over South Africa and was also jeered in the 2-1 home win against Argentina. Brazil did beat China 8-0 in between but China were terrible to be fair. The fans at the Argentina game had banners calling for the return of Big Phil Scolari who has left Palmeiras by mutual consent after their terrible form (they won the Brazilian Cup and will play in next year’s Libertadores but are also in the relegation zone 6 points from safety with ten games to go). A recent internet poll by UOL shows that 42% of readers want Big Phil to coach the team at the 2014 World Cup, 26% want Muricy Ramalho and just 6% want Mano Menezes.
- Luis Fabiano returned to the seleção for the first time since the 2010 World Cup in a friendly match against Argentina recently – the Superclássico das Americas, where only domestically based players are called up. I saw him play live about two months ago and sadly, he is not the same player he used to be that is for sure.
- Brazil unveiled their mascot for the 2014 World Cup and it is an armadillo. A bit strange that if you ask me. I’ve never seen one in Brazil – have you? Ronaldo had the following to say about the armadillo: “I’m sure he will inspire many young football fans in Brazil and all over the world with the great passion which he has for the sport and for his country”. Really?
- Fluminense (62 points) continue to dominate in the Serie A. They are six points clear of second placed Atlético-MG (56 points) with ten games left. Fred, unsurprisingly, seems to score the winner for Fluminense in just about every match he plays in!
- Atlético-MG were the early season surprise package with players like Ronaldinho, Jô and Bernard catching the eye but their form has dipped and it looks like a classic case of cavalo paraguayo (Paraguayan, or fake, horse). Grêmio are in third with 53 points.
- Corinthians (39 points) and Santos (35 points) both have virtually no chance of the title down in 8th and 14th place respectively. The real worry for Santos however, is that they have virtually blown their qualification hopes for next season’s Libertadores too. Corinthians have already qualified as winners of course. Will Neymar put up with that I wonder? The likes of Vasco (50 points), São Paulo (46 points), Internacional (42 points) and Botafogo (40 points) are likely to battle it out for that fourth place and final Libertadores spot.