On July 16, 1950, an estimated 200,000 people had gathered at the colossal Maracana in Rio De Janeiro to witness one of the most historical sporting events in modern history – the football World Cup final. The tournament was dealt a big blow with the two ominous World Wars causing an excruciating 12 year gap between the 1938 and 1950 World Cups.
Europe, the original home ground of football, lay in ruins; its streets and neighborhoods were decimated, and the deafening cacophonies of gun-fire and rolling tanks reverberated in the ears of the fortunate survivors. The smiles and hopes of many a zealous football enthusiast had turned to ashes in the wake of the wars. European nations had depleted a majority of their resources on the wars and the chances of hosting the World Cup were scant.
GHOSTS OF THE PAST
The future of the World Cup looked bleak, until a zealous Brazil vowed to extricate the sport from the abyssal mire in which it had been cast into during the wars. The summer of 1950 became one of the most historic summers in the history of the South American nation with over a million people attending the fourth FIFA World Cup. The Brazil national team was dominant throughout the tournament, except the much anticipated final against Uruguay when a shock defeat silenced the uproarious colosseum of Maracana.
Almost 64 years later, the World Cup returns to Brazil. However, the passage of over six decades hasn’t caused much changes in the football-obsessed nation. People still haven’t forgotten the infamous 2-1 drubbing by the Obdulia Varela-led Uruguayan team of 1950. They still want to see their beloved nation win the Cup in their own backyard.
It is not easy to represent the national colours of a country possessed with the magic of football, and the current team led by Thiago Silva is very much aware of it. He knows that people will be watching his every move on the field with scrutiny. Failure is not even an option; it will be do or die for him and his team in this year’s World Cup.
Brazil and Argentina: South America’s footballing behemoths Brazil and Argentina share one of the fiercest rivalries in the history of the game. Both the teams have clashed only four times in the World Cups, with Brazil holding a 2-1 win-loss lead. Brazil has scored 5 goals in these matches whereas Argentina has scored 3. The last time these two teams played against each other in a World Cup was during 1990.
Recently, Brazil’s coach Luiz Felipe Scolari predicted that Argentina and Brazil will rekindle their historic rivalry in the finals of the 2014 World Cup. Although the prediction doesn’t sound startling, it will be difficult to ascertain whether both these teams will reach the finals of a competition as tough as the World Cup.
If you have ever wondered the reason behind the massive hype that Brazilian football enjoys all across the globe, you need to check their impeccable record at the World Cup.
Their last World Cup win came against Germany in 2002.
Thiago Silva: Silva is the captain of the Brazil team. He is renowned among critics and football fanatics as one of the best defenders of the current era. His experience and recent form for PSG will boost Brazil’s chances of reclaiming the coveted Cup this year.
Neymar: Aged 22, Neymar, who was born in Sao Paolo, Brazil, is now considered as one of the most exciting players in club and international football. He was recently in the headlines for scoring a hat-trick in Brazil’s friendly against South Africa in March. Given his recent form, the young prodigy is expected to lead Brazil to glory in the current World Cup.
Neymar is reckoned as a phenomenal player with envious flexibility and charm. He plays a forward for his national team. His ability to dribble and pass the ball at an electric pace makes him a difficult player to battle on the field.
He has been often compared with Brazilian legend Pele, who Neymar considers as his icon.
29-year-old Fernandinho is reckoned as one of Brazil’s best midfielders. His ability to both attack and defend make him a formidable box-to-box midfielder. He plays the agggressor through his swift tackles and strong interception. Another strong feature in his modus operandi is his ability to shoot the ball through long distances.
The tall midfielder had a superb run with English Premier League champions Manchester City, and he will be looking forward to replicate that form in the World Cup.
His numerous talents notwithstanding, Fernandinho will face stiff competition with fellow team-mate Paulinho for making the midlfield position his own.