Orlando Hill writes on the role of corporate contamination in Brazil's humiliating defeat in the World Cup
Leonardo Boff is one of the early supporters of the Liberation Theology. He is well known for his active support for the rights of the poor and the excluded in his native Brazil and across the world. Like most Brazilians, he is also a football fan. In a recent article published in his website, he analyses the recent humiliation suffered by Brazilian national team. In his opinion, there are two main reasons for the 7: 1 defeat by Germany. Firstly, Germany, similar to other European teams, renewed their strategy and form of playing football. They invested in three main points: careful physical training which gave the players endurance and speed; talented players were prepared to play in any position and run throughout the field and finally the building of a team spirit. The German players were not interested in showing their individual performances, but understood the importance of performing as a cohesive group. ‘Not that they are invincible because we saw that, playing against the USA, the German team had great difficulty winning. But these qualities were the secret of the German victory over Brazil.’
The second reason, probably the most important according to Boff, lies in the Brazilian team’s attitude. There was a national (and international) consensus that Brazil was the home of football. They had won five World Cups. This is the land of ‘King’ Pele and other exceptional players like Neymar. The creation of the myth of the "Player of the World Cup," elevated to hero and almost a demigod suited corporate sponsors and the big media. This atmosphere of euphoria that attended the marketing of corporations eventually contaminated the mind of the people. Brazil could lose, but just barely. But for the vast majority, the victory was almost certain, especially since the games were taking place in Brazil.
Felipe Scolari (known as ‘Big Felipe’) was incapable of creating a cohesive group of players with a strong team spirit. Each player wanted to give his private show in view of being spotted by large European clubs. The emphasis should have been put on the team and only then on the individual talents of each player. The players were left dispersed. Unacceptable voids were created in the middle of the field leaving the main stars of the opponent unmarked. The Germans knew how to exploit this structural weakness of the Brazilian team. In the first 29 minutes of the first half the score was already 5 - 0.
It was like watching an amateur team play against a premier league team. This was not the football Brazilians were used to. Brazil lost because its football leaders were locked up in their arrogance and refused to learn from others. Even if there had been eleven Neymars in the field, without a cohesive and orderly group, the result would have been no different. Brazil lost because they played badly, and played badly because they did not know how to appropriate new strategies that had been tested outside of Brazil. But most importantly, they did not build a cohesive and versatile team.
Leonardo Boff is certain that the Brazilian people will pick themselves up. They have an historical resilience. He only hopes that the Brazilian elite, who shamefully booed President Dilma with unpublishable curses at the opening ceremony, does not once again, embarrass Brazil to the world when she delivers the trophy to the winning team. If they do they will only show the world their disdain to the working people of Brazil. They suffer because they cannot live in Miami or Paris, and are condemned to living and accumulating wealth in the southern hemisphere.
He ends the article praising Germany’s discrete celebration and not revelling in such a stunning victory. He also praises those Brazilian people who recognised the dignity in victory and applauded the far superior football.
Orlando was born in Brazil and was involved in the successful struggle for democracy in the late 1970s and 80s in that country. He teaches A level Economics. He is a member of the NEU, Counterfire and Stop the War.
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