Brazil was stunned to lose the Olympic final against Mexico. All tournament long they had comfortably defeated opponents and featured a host of stars like Neymar and Hulk. The road was paved for Brazil to win their first Olympic gold medal, but reality struck hard when the players decided to play like individuals and not as a team.
The style of play was evident throughout the game but started when Peralta of Mexico scored a brilliant goal just 30 seconds into the match. The goal completely deflated Brazil and they never recovered. Everyone took it upon himself to be the hero, and no one was really able to manage the feat.
Hulk was brought on after half an hour and began to show some nifty moves, but the selfish spell overtook him too, as he repeatedly got ahold of the ball and managed only to wiggle his left foot a few times before kicking a ball off a defender or losing possession. He had a nasty long range shot in the first half but Mexico’s goalie, Jose de Jesus Corona, was able to save.
Similar things happened in the second half as Neymar also took to taking speculative heroic efforts that missed the target. This wasn’t the “Joga Bonito” we expected from a nation like Brazil, who are supposed to pass the ball into the net with flair and ease. This was desperate schoolboys trying to do it all by themselves.
I attribute much of this problem to all the transfer news and stories surrounding the players. Oscar is a striker who performed well in the tournament and just secured a big money move to Chelsea of the EPL. Midfielder Lucas Moura had been courted by Manchester United throughout the Olympics, but apparently changed his mind last week and opted for a mega-move to PSG, the big spenders of French Ligue1. His move was announced just three days before the gold medal match.
Similarly, Hulk and Neymar have been rumored all summer long to be headed to major clubs the likes of Real Madrid. With players’ minds elsewhere, is it any wonder that they couldn’t come together in the final? All these 20 year olds think they are the greatest things ever after earning these massive transfers, so naturally they all tried to be the hero, and naturally the team suffered and they lost the game.
So where does the team look to for hope of winning the 2014 World Cup in Brazil? Most of these players mentioned will likely be in the full adult squad, and will need to be on their best for the tournament. Pressure will be immense for the team to succeed. Throw in the likes of Spain and Argentina’s Lionel Messi in his prime, Cristiano Ronaldo with Portugal, and Brazil might just implode at the World Cup. This nation needs a serious reality check, and the defeat to Mexico will have provided just that. Clearly Brazil has the talent to succeed, they just need to come together as a real team if they expect to win a trophy of real significance like the World Cup.