SAO PAULO - Plunged from a nationwide
party into deep despair, Brazilians lambasted their team's lack
of heart and style on Friday and begged for a return to the
"beautiful game" by the time they host the World Cup in 2014.
In a country that has won more World Cups than any other and
which defines itself by the success of its national team, the
second successive limp exit to a European team at the
quarter-final stage was too much to stomach for many fans.
"This is painful. It's a miserable pain," said a sobbing,
bikini-clad Maria Elisa as she left Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana
beach where about 20,000 fans, most wearing canary-yellow,
endured the 2-1 defeat to the Netherlands shown on a giant
Within minutes of the game's conclusion, hundreds of forlorn
Brazilians vented their frustration on the blog of Juca Kfouri,
one of Brazil's best-known sports writers.
Many blamed coach Dunga for fielding a team that lacked some
of the country's greatest stars, such as Ronaldinho, Ganso and
Many commentators had long had their knives out for 1994
World Cup winning player Dunga for what they saw as his
stubbornly defensive style that was a far cry from the "jogo
bonito" or beautiful game that Brazilians expect.
"What happened was precisely what we all knew would happen
before the Cup even started - a mediocre team, mediocre
football," one fan named Anderson Verdao wrote.
In Brazil's biggest city of Sao Paulo, disconsolate bankers,
builders and other workers trooped back to their workplaces or
consoled themselves with more beer as they analysed the defeat.
"There is no way to kill our sorrow. We just have to wait
until 2014," said 27-year-old systems analyst Rafael Moretti,
swigging a beer as other fans defiantly blew out some final
blasts on vuvuzela horns.
A common view was that Dunga, who indicated immediately
after the game he would not stay on as Brazil coach, had been
too stubborn and inflexible to calls to change styles.
"Dunga is stupid - he didn't call up Ronaldinho," said
Edson Cavalcante, a 40-year-old systems analyst who was swaying
from the effects of beer and disappointment on a Sao Paulo
Brazil lost to France in the 2006 quarter-final even with
skillful playmaker Ronaldinho on the team, but fans said on
Friday that his exclusion had left the squad without options.
"It's not a problem of Brazilian football - we have great
players. The problem was Dunga's philosophy of being the big
chief, he was too hard-headed," said Daniel Garcia, a 29-year
Felipe Melo, the midfielder who scored an own goal and was
sent off in the second half for stamping on Dutch playmaker
Arjen Robben, was also singled out for blame.
"Felipe Melo shouldn't spend his vacation in Brazil,"
Ronaldo, the striker who led Brazil to its most recent World Cup
title in 2002, wrote on his Twitter.
With Brazil hosting the next World Cup, Brazilians could at
least look forward to a huge party and a strong chance of
winning their sixth title in four years' time.
"I think there is an arrangement at (football governing body)
FIFA that Brazil can't win too many times and of course the next
one will be at home," said Sydney Medeiros, a 52-year-old
parking attendant in Sao Paulo who had his Brazil shirt draped
over one shoulder. "Clearly, it's a conspiracy."
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