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Both Ronaldinho and Kaka have been left out, with the former omission particularly surprising given that he has been in sparkling form with his club Atletico Mineiro.
I think he’s right to leave him out because Ronaldinho has failed to show not just his club form in a yellow jersey, but also failed to show the same appetite for the game. However, if Brazil don’t do well, the screams for his return will become deafening.
The big surprise is the inclusion of Bernard, another Atletico Mineiro player. The tiny attacking midfielder has been one of the stars of Atletico’s Libertadores campaign.
I think his inclusion is as much about preparing him for the World Cup than it is about the Confederations competition. Felipao pointedly stated that he wants to give Bernard the experience of a big tournament before next year.
Lucas, now of Paris Saint-Germain, and Chelsea’s Oscar, are two other youngsters called up.
Among the other brave decisions are the exclusion of Ramires, which I think is a mistake, and the inclusion of Leandro Damiao. The internacional striker has lost some of his gloss recently but Felipao likes an old style No. 9 and Leandro Damiao fits that bill.
Brazil still look weak at the full back positions, especially if Marcelo and Daniel Alves get injured. I don’t rate either of them too highly and Marcelo is always liable to lose the rag.
Brazil play England in a friendly at the Maracana on June 2 and then face France in Porto Alegre a week later. The Confederations Cup kicks off on June 15.
The full squad, from the CBF home page:
Julio Cesar – Queens P. Rangers
Diego Cavlaieri – Fluminense
Jefferson – Botafogo
Thiago Silva – Paris Saint Germain
Rever – Atlético Mineiro
David Luiz – Chelsea
Dante – Bayern de Munique
Daniel Alves – Barcelona
Jean – Fluminense
Marcelo – Real Madrid
Filipe Luís – Atlético de Madrid
Fernando – Grêmio
Hernanes – Lazio
Luiz Gustavo – Bayern de Munique
Paulinho – Corinthians
Jadson – São Paulo
Oscar – Chelsea
Lucas – Paris Saint Germain
Hulk – Zenit
Bernard – Atlético Mineiro
Leandro Damião – Internacional
Fred – Fluminense
Neymar – Santos
One colleague called me a misanthrope the other day. Another often refers to me as Mr Angry. A Scottish pal in Rio calls me Begbie (after the notoriously angry character in Trainspotting).
They all mean it in jest (I hope!) and I usually take it with a pinch of salt and a laugh.
But there’s a lot to be angry about these days and I don’t just mean big banks destroying the livelihoods of millions just to make a few more pennies, or the spinelessness of politicians who have allowed them to get away with it.
Case in point today in Brazil, where Bradley Brooks from the Associated Press just published this sensational story about how big car makers in Brazil are routinely churning out vehicles that fail the same safety tests they wouldn’t dare fail in the developed world.
Unsafe cars, coupled with the South American nation’s often dangerous driving conditions, have resulted in a Brazilian death rate from passenger car accidents that is nearly four times that of the United States.
The culprits are the cars themselves, produced with weaker welds, scant safety features and inferior materials compared to similar models manufactured for U.S. and European consumers, say experts and engineers inside the industry. Four of Brazil’s five bestselling cars failed their independent crash tests.
Manufacturers earn a 10 percent profit on Brazilian-made cars, compared with 3 percent in the U.S. and a global average of 5 percent, according to IHS Automotive, an industry consulting firm.
Only next year will laws require frontal air bags and antilock braking systems on all cars, safety features that have been standard in industrial countries for years. The country will also have new impact regulations on paper, at least; Brazilian regulators don’t have their own crash-test facility to verify automakers’ claims about vehicle performance, nor are there independent labs in the country.
In short, Brazil’s car makers are cutting corners and costing countless lives because it is cheaper to make poor quality cars than it is to spend more and make the cars as safe as they would in the US or Europe. And the government is quite happy to let them.
This in a nation where cars cost three times what they cost elsewhere.
Seriously, the question isn’t why am I angry. The question is: Why isn’t everyone?
I don’t normally publish emails on my blog but this one is worth sharing, especially after the furor that erupted over this case involving the Atlantic.
This is the sort of insulting thing that occasionally appears in my inbox, cheekily (to put it mildly) asking me to give away my work for free.
William Barns-Graham, the Editor of New York Daily Sun and Content Editor at Allied Newspapers, should be ashamed.
I don’t think he’d ask a plumber to fix his bathroom sink for free and neither would he have the guts to even suggest to a taxi driver that he drive him around gratis.
Does he go to restaurants and ask chefs to whip him up a salad or pasta free of charge?
Does he go to shoe shops and ask for free pairs of shoes?
No. He wouldn’t have the balls.
And yet he feels perfectly at ease asking journalists to give up their time to write ‘original content’ that will help him sell newspapers and online ads.
And people wonder why journalism is in a state….
I’m writing to you from a global network of newspapers called Allied Newspapers – a network of newspapers including ‘New York Daily Sun’, ‘South American Herald’ and ‘Hong Kong Morning Star’. As a network we have already attracted 100,000 views this year despite our relative youth but we’re looking to expand this further.
We are looking for freelance writers to help increase our network via interesting content and word of mouth exposure as well. In return your writing would gain greater exposure as part of our network – we have in the past had articles receive over 10,000 views individually and this is something that will increase as the network becomes bigger.
Judging by your blog, you could be an ideal writer for one of our titles. We only accept original content and cannot at this stage pay for articles, but we can offer you exposure and a string to your writers bow in that you will be writing increasingly respectful titles.
We are interesting in all sorts of articles ranging from world news to sport to academic expertise on specific areas and so on. We are libertarian so we are interested in being a platform for all political motivations and opinions but we do draw a line at anything that may be termed extremist or that may incite hatred of some sort.
If you’re interested, please feel free to respond us at email@example.com and check out some of the titles posted in the postscript.
Editor of New York Daily Sun
Content Editor at Allied Newspaper
One of three men organizing the 2014 World Cup and June’s Confederations Cup warm up competition, he leaves at an inopportune time.
Stadiums are late, infrastructure isn’t being built fast enough and the budget is rising.
“Our problem is cultural. We leave everything to the last minute,” the former Real Madrid and Inter Milan striker told O Globo last week. “We’ve had since 2007 to get organized.”
And yet they haven’t. Why Ronaldo, who is one of those charged with making sure the tournament runs smoothly, is taking leave of his position right now makes no sense to me.
FIFA says he is an unpaid volunteer and that he will be returning to Brazil whenever his presence is needed at events.
The fact is, however, it is one more sign of Brazil’s lack of seriousness.
If you assume a position organising a major tournament like the World Cup, you should devote yourself to the task, not do it when it suits you.
Ronaldo’s departure on the eve of the Confederations Cup, with stadiums still not ready four months past the initial deadline, and public transportation projects so far behind schedule they probably won’t happen before June 2014, sends a clear signal to the world.
The signal is that Brazil isn’t taking this seriously.
The catalyst for my story on Time.com today was the closure of Rio’s 2016 Olympic games stadium because it is in danger of collapse.
The Joao Havelange stadium was inaugurated just six years ago but was so poorly done it is already in an advanced state of disrepair.
My editors at Time made tweaks to my story on the grounds it was too opinionated.
What I wanted to say loud and clear, and have been saying in conversation for years, is this: The people who ran Rio’s 2007 Pan American Games and who are organising the next Olympics are guilty of either deceit or bad planning or both.
For the Pan Ams they promised the city of Rio 54km of new metro, a light railway line and a new highway.
They did none of it.
The games were at least six times over budget and the justification was that the venues and facilities were expensive because they were of Olympic standard.
They are not.
The track and field stadium is in danger of collapse. The aquatics park is not big enough to be used for the Olympics and a new one must be built. The brand new cycle track can’t be used because it is not good enough. The Maracana is undergoing its third reform since 2000 at a total cost exceeding 1 billion reais.
Rio’s Pan Am experience is more about how not to prepare for a major sporting event than how to.
It is nothing short of scandalous that the organizers are being given a second chance.
A new study was released yesterday claiming that Flamengo is the best supported football team in Brazil, followed closely by Corinthians. (See the full report here.)
The report claims that 16.8 % of those polled back the Rio side, while 14.6 % support Corinthians. The next best placed team is Sao Paulo, with 8.1 % of preferences.
The study, carried out by Stochos and Pluri, is the latest in a string of such reports rating the support of Brazilian clubs. It feeds into the myth that teams like Flamengo and Corinthians have 30 million fans.
To me, a fan is someone who follows their team and participates in the club activities. That goes from the die hards who buy season tickets, to the ones who go to the odd game, buy a top or a tshirt or a calender, or contribute in some other way to the team’s revenue and well-being, even if it is just commenting on message boards or buying a pay-per-view package. (Not all fans live close enough to be able to go to games.)
Some 4,000 people turned up to see Flamengo last weekend. That’s 4,000 people in a city of around 8 million. Or 1-in-2000 people.
Compare that to Dortmund, the best supported club in Europe. Their average crowd is 78,000 in a city of 600,000 people. That means 1-in-6 locals go cheer their team. In other words they have 333 times more fans than Flamengo.
It’s a similar story elsewhere. The mighty Hibernian sit sixth in the Scottish Premier. Average crowds are around 9,000. Edinburgh has a population of 450,000. So 1-in-50 people in Edinburgh alone go see the Hibees.
Studies like this one should be treated with a massive pinch of salt.
The real news here? That in the ‘pais de futebol‘ more than 1 in 5 people don’t even like the game.
When I first came to Brazil I was shocked at how many people wore football shirts. Everybody wore them, young and old, male and female, and they wore them everywhere.
It wasn’t unusual to see people in nightclubs or restaurants wearing the colours of Flamengo, Corinthians, Palmeiras and dozens of others. I thought it was weird (and still do).
If one thing has changed over the last decade it is that you no longer see people wearing just local shirts. Nowadays, for every Botafogo shirt there’s a Chelsea one, for every Cruzeiro a Barcelona, and for every Gremio a Liverpool.
Turned off by the corruption and mismanagement endemic in their domestic game and with the exotic attractions of Europe available on demand via TV, the internet and video games, many Brazilians – especially youngsters – are taking a greater interest in foreign football.
“Little by little, the big European clubs are silently ‘invading’ the hearts and minds of Brazilian football lovers, especially the young, who are seduced by competitions that are much more attractive than those we are used to seeing in Brazil,” said Fernando Ferreira, the director of Pluri, a sports consultancy firm. “The phenomenon of Brazilians supporting one team in Brazil and another abroad is more and more common.”
One is that Brazilian football is expensive and still a bit of a mess (even though it is slowly getting better). Another is that more Brazilians have more money to spend, as I’ve written about a thousand times. And third, the world is smaller and more people have more access to European football, via TV, the internet, social media and video games.
Brazilian clubs are trying to internationalise. But the truth is their fans have already taken that step.
As Brazil prepare to play Italy in Felipao’s second friendly match on Thursday night, here’s a reminder of why such games are taking place in Geneva, a home stadium for neither country.
Among the reasons: Time, money, and globalisation, as I say in my Reuters story from last year.
“It’s a trend,” says the headline and it’s not wrong.
It’s increasingly common for two international teams to face off in a third country.
The matchups and venues often sound completely random. Ireland have played Italy in Belgium and Oman in England. England have faced Brazil in Qatar and Italy in Switzerland. Argentina have taken on Nigeria in Bangladesh and Venezuela in India.
At least Brazil vs. Italy is more attractive than Brazil against Iraq in Sweden or Brazil against Japan in Poland.
Here’s the most iconic image of Pele, taken from the mural that surrounds Santos’s training ground. For no other reason than it’s cool.
Or all three.
Scheidt signed for Celtic from Gremio for around 4.8 million pounds in 1999. He had three full Brazilian caps but he more than lived up to his name.
Scheidt by name, shite by nature, as anyone who saw him play, might say.
The Observer Football Monthly rated him the second biggest waste of money in football history. The Celtic Wiki page said he was arguably the worst signing in the history of the club. One team mate reportedly said, “he couldn’t trap a bag of cement.”
I thought of poor old Rafael yesterday when I wrote this piece about Leomar (left), a midfielder who was allegedly called into the Brazil squad in 2001 in return for a bribe.
The president of northeastern club Sport said he paid to get Leomar a call up in 2001 and an investigation has been launched.
The idea was that players who can say they are worthy of wearing the famous yellow shirt can command higher fees on the transfer market.
That led me to think of Scheidt. Nothing, I should hasten to add, other than the fact he was rubbish and yet played three times for Brazil, suggests that Scheidt’s call up was underhand or questionable in any way.
But it wouldn’t be a surprise if we heard more such reports.
As Romario said: “The president of Sport had the courage to go public and prove what we’ve been hearing for a long time: the national team is a cartel.”
NB – You couldn’t make it up. The CBF president got his dates wrong when he made the bombastic announcement on Tuesday night. The friendly, the CBF web site says, is April 6, not April 5 as Marin stated.
Now here’s something you won’t hear me say very often: “Well done to the CBF!”
Nice decision to take a Brazil team to Bolivia to play a benefit match for the family of the boy killed by Corinthians fans last month.
Kevin Beltran Espada died when Corinthians supporters fired a rocket into the home enclosure. The firework hit the 14-year old in the head, killing him instantly.
The CBF announced last night that Brazil will play Bolivia in a benefit match in Santa Cruz de la Sierra on April 5. As it is not an official FIFA date, only home-based players are likely to feature.
Of course, the match itself is largely irrelevant. What matters is the gesture. Let’s hope it’s a sign the CBF is becoming more open and more in tune with public opinion. Don’t hold your breath. But well done for now.