Brazil, a demolition which took 32 years


David Luis fell to the ground, both hands raised to the heavens in prayer and forgiveness, in the aftermath of Germany’s 7-1 demolition of Brazil. Luis, blaming himself as the captain, probably did not realise that this story began 32 years before, one desolate afternoon in Barcelona, Spain, and he was just a culmination of that event.

Brazil came into the 1982 World Cup tournament, with the tag of history’s best, alongside the 1954 Hungarians. Having seen all the matches they played in that tournament, I can personally testify, that in 40 years of watching football, I have never seen anything quite like it.

Spread out in a rather normal 4-3-2-1 formation, it was because of what they did on the field that made it different. Tele Santana, the coach, had unabashedly made an attacking machine and its one purpose was to be destructive for the opposition. The fullbacks, Junior and Leandro were more attackers than defenders. Couple that with Socrates the captain midfield general, who roamed to all portions of the ground, Zico and Falcao, great attacking midfielders and lastly Eder the attacking left sided player and you had a team which moved like quick silver and made the ball talk on the ground. Mind, this team lacked Careca, the star forward who fractured his leg weeks before the tournament. Yet it attacked as no one has in the history of football.

This team carried a nations belief in its indestructibility. They would simply score more goals than any opposition in the world. Through that tournament they tore teams apart and arrived in the round of pre semis, needing a draw to go through versus Italy. Italy itself seemed a dour side, with its forward Paulo Rossi just having come out of a three year ban for match fixing, and totally out of sorts. Yet the pedigree was there, as Enzo Bearzot had built a very good side which did well in 1978 and fancied it could handle Brazil now.

That fateful afternoon, Brazil attacked as never before. In a game, which had the most sublime football played in the history of the game, Brazil chased the game through 90 minutes, equalising twice, while the Italians defended doggedly and attacked on the counter. Yet Paulo Rossi rising from the ashes of his career, scored the most famous hatrick in football and took the game for Italy, by 3-2. Italy went on to win the 1982 World Cup, though probably being second best to Brazil.

In Brazil the heart and belief were broken. Santana’s magic and promise and the waste of the greatest team to play, were never forgiven. Brazil never forgot Cerezzo and his awful pass across goal, pounced on by Rossi to score. A psyche change occurred and now flair was considered second best and players were encouraged who were tough and stopped play. Exit the playmaker Socrates type, enter Dunga the destroyer. Looking down the years of football history, one sees a dramatic shift.. Naturally, every now and then a player of iconic ability would come, but the team generally played closed football. So we had Romario and Bebeto in 1994, who won the tournament against the Italians. Ronaldo in 1998 when the final was lost to an electric French team. Ronaldo and Ronaldinho in 2002, when the Germans were beaten. Yet through the years, with the mind set of hard football, Dunga and Fernandinho and the likes have prevailed.

So to 2014, and once the flair player Neymar was gone, and Silva the core was suspended, there was no quality on the field to challenge the clinical Germans. Where a Rubinho, Coutinho or a Ronaldinho would make a difference, Scolari chose to leave these flair players out. End result a broken team and a broken philosophy.

What is not natural to one, is rarely the best. For Brazil, football is an art form, win or lose. They need to go back to their way. They need to forget 1982, Cerezzo and Paulo Rossi. Maybe today is the shock which will make it happen.


About sarfarazar
I have been lucky! A long career with large scale organisations and some acclaim. Also, took time off to write, mentor and do some education and social development projects. I continue to mentor and help younger people in life. Inshallah, hope to write on various subjects in my blog.

9 Responses to Brazil, a demolition which took 32 years

  1. Pingback: Brazil, a demolition which took 32 years | Rome1977

  2. Fahad Yousaf says:

    Nicely captured! Well played!

  3. Salman Haider says:

    Well, I believe the psychological attack by German manager (stating that Brazil is a rough playing team and referees should watch out for Brazilian foul play) a day earlier also made a significant impact on Brazil’s performance. While the German side took full advantage of this cover provided by their manager.

    • sarfarazar says:

      You might be right. in todays world these attacks by opposition happens daily in the league championship and the Euro Championship. Players should be used to them. After 2 goals they just went into shock…and stopped marking totally …but the relative quality of the two squads was obvious beforehand…and many commentators were saying through the World cup that Brazil is simply playing a spoilers role and is low on quality.

  4. JauharMunirShaikh says:

    Enjoyable read. The class of the 82′ Brazil team is a living memory for all those who saw them. This defeat should be a defining one where Brazil will have to ponder how to keep the ‘flair players’ & the European like markers’ in tandem. (…. a bit like Pakistan Hockey & Cricket). This match is also a testimony how the German system from schools, minor & major leagues comes through. They took in the harsh lessons from the aging 2006 team & started afresh thereafter. This particular team’s coming of age is its essence the nucleus of the 2010 manschaft.

    • sarfarazar says:

      The comparison to Pakistan hockey is very apt. Astroturf changed hockey and our skills were negated by the emergence of physical domination im

    • sarfarazar says:

      The Germans rarely have a weak team. They are clinical and are there or thereabouts. A combination of technique, structure and some European type skills. 78 and 98 were when their teams were not significant. Otherwise they always have good teams.

  5. My 3 business Lessons to learn from the humiliation of Brazil:
    1- Your past successes mean NOTHING
    2- An Action Plan (GERMANY had one) will always prevail over Emotional Intelligence (BRAZIL only had that) – May be even the theory of Emotional Intelligence is simple a CHIMERA.
    3- Nothing is lost until it is really lost, always be patient, focus on the BIG POINTS in all your challenges. Brazil’s panic after GERMANY scored its first goal in the 13th minutes was a revelation that they lost focus about what their business was: 90 minutes to win a game.

    Patience and focus are critical factors to revert a negative course. Always think of buying yourself Time if you are in trouble.

    • sarfarazar says:

      Stuff happens…this is life. Teams crack up and panic. In the end it was about the quality of skills on the field. This was a weak Brazilian team and could have been better had they relied on their strengths, which are to do with ball playing. They chose instead to pick a hard squad of tacklers…thats their funeral.

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