The World Cup is over, and whilst the Germans are probably still celebrating their thoroughly deserved victory, as a Brazilian, I am more concerned about the mess that the national team is now in. Over the course of 180 minutes in Belo Horizonte and then Brasilia over the last week, the current crop of Brazilian internationals destroyed nearly a century’s worth of painstakingly gained football legacy. All that is left is a pile of rubble, a trail of destruction, left behind by the marauding German and Dutch sides.
Clearly that rubble needs to be carefully reassembled piece by piece in the hope that Brazil can one day return to the pinnacle of world soccer. It seems a long way off, and at this precise moment, we don’t even know who it is that will be tasked with picking up those pieces and implementing a recovery plan. Whomever it is will have one hell of a job on his hands, and the signs don’t look all that great.
First of all, one need only look at the 23 man squad that was selected by Luiz Felipe Scolari. If this is truly representative of the best 23 Brazilian football players on the planet right now, then I am utterly shocked. Sure, you can probably look around and cite players such as Miranda and Felipe Luis from Atletico Madrid, Coutinho from Liverpool, Lucas Moura from PSG, and maybe even the old guard of Robinho, Ronaldinho and Kaka, as players that may have been worthy of a call up, but generally speaking, this was pretty much the best group available to Scolari.
If that wasn’t terrifying enough, then consider this. People have for decades now always mentioned the “conveyor belt of football talent” in Brazil. Well I for one believe that the first thing they need to do is find an engineer to fix that conveyor belt, as the talent within the youth ranks seems almost as bare as that of the senior ranks. Indeed, the Brazil U20 side failed to qualify for the 2013 FIFA U20 World Cup, finishing bottom of their group in the South American qualifying competition. The fact that their one victory in that tournament came against perennial South American underachievers Venezuela, makes it even more sobering.
Even in this year’s Copa Libertadores, Brazilian club sides have struggled, with only one of them making it past the first round of knockout matches. Cruzeiro were able to make it through to the quarter finals, but were then beaten by San Lorenzo of Argentina.