The talent, the gossip, the inside track
Celso de Campos Jr
There’s no need to explain to you British people how boring Brazil friendlies usually are. You’ve seen enough of them lately with London becoming the official capital of the samba boys' (drowsy) exhibition matches. Last weekend, however, I managed to stay awake during both games of the Seleção’s United States tour, because I couldn’t take my eyes off of the TV during the clashes against the mighty Canada and Venezuela. Yes. I was just anticipating the moment Brazil, playing as lethargic as allowed by the legal limits, would come unstuck against one of the above powerhouses. History-making was just around the corner.Against Canada, it was close. The courageous maple-leafed team missed a host of opportunities when the game was tied at 2-2 before self-destructing and gift-wrapping Robinho Brazil's third goal.
Canada come close to upsetting Seleção, going down 3-2
So it came down to Venezuela to put Dunga's boys out of their misery. The same Venezuela that had lost their previous 17 matches against Brazil, scoring only four goals and conceding 78. But who cares about statistics?After a pathetic first half, Brazil went into the break 2-0 down. I thought someone would pull their finger out in the second half. Robinho, Adriano, Pato, Luis Fabiano, Diego, Elano. How hard can it be scoring against Venezuela?Too hard, apparently. Game over and Venezuela's first ever win against Brazil. Humiliation for the Seleção, party time for the Vinotintos (Red wine, Venezuela's nickname after the colour of their kit).
Vega and Chacon celebrate first ever win against Brazil
President-slash-nutjob Hugo Chavez, predictably, saluted the team in his speech. But not in a ordinary way, of course. Between screams and curses, he narrated the goals, mocked the Brazilians and announced no one would stop Venezuela in South Africa at the 2010 World Cup.
Back on Planet Earth there’s no need for despair in Brazil. At least not for now. The Seleção has a history of only playing when it matters – and that’s what the fans rely on. In 2001, for instance, Big Phil Scolari’s team lost to Honduras. The following year, they conquered the world.Two-faced Brazil now face two tough World Cup qualifiers: Paraguay (away) and Argentina (home). Good results in both will completely erase the embarrassment against Venezuela. New failures, however, will throw coach Dunga - as we say in Portuguese - in “bad sheets.” If he has trouble falling asleep, he can always request a copy of one of Brazil’s recent friendlies. Works every time.
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