Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Brazil's soccer losing the samba

Brazil has won the Copa America by defeating arch rivals Argentina 3-0 on Sunday's final played in the searing heat of Venezuela.

The Brazilians have won four of the last five Copa titles -- the exception was when Colombia won at home in 2001 -- and eight in all.

Argentina, the favourites to win had its top players and appeared unstoppable throughout most of the tournament. Brazil was missing the stars Ronaldinho and Kaka. The Brazilians edged Uruguay by 5-4 on penalty kicks in the semifinals after a 2-2 tie.

Brazil played the final with ruthless efficiency, the European concept that emphasizes the economics of efficiency to score goals.

Brazil's soccer is a spectacle of beautiful passing and flawless rhythm that resonates with the drum beat of the samba music famous in Brazil. This year Brazil has won the championship, but the beautiful game was missing.

The samba boys have won with a shrewd strategy. Brazil's coach Dunga, a defensive midfielder when he captained Brazil to World Cup glory in 1994, changed the system to employ three players in the holding role. The decision was controversial for a country used to the attack, attack, attack philosophy.

To Dunga what matters is the trophy. If this style continues, the beautiful game that has made Brazil so famous- even when they lose- will become a thing of the past.

No comments: