When the governing body for Brazilian football, the CBF had announced their inability to secure their captain Neymar’s participation for the Copa America Centenario, it was greeted with muted disappointment by the natives and Brazilian diaspora alike. His participation in both the tournaments was always in doubt with the Attacker himself keen to represent the national team in both the tournaments.
In private though, his thirst for the Olympic Gold exceeded his hunger for the Copa cup. The Olympics were the only hope Dunga had to save his job and buy time to steer the South American nation from the dismal sixth spot they currently occupy in their qualification group. The catastrophe of progressing beyond the group stage though signaled the end of his era. So why is there so much fuss about it in the South American nation than any other country?
Why Olympic Gold is an absolute necessity for Brazil
The Gold medal is the only prize missing from the national team’s trophy cabinet. It’s astonishing considering the wealth of talent that this country has it at its disposal. Even Argentina, who have failed to claim a senior trophy for the last 23 years have secured it at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Curious as it is, a failure this time is simply not acceptable for neither the CBF, nor the general public of Brazil. Their powers have been in discordance for the last couple of years.
One suspects that the scars from the 7-0 thrashing at the hands of Germany haven’t healed till now. The exit via the loss at the hands of Peru, though outrageous considering the circumstances, wasn’t entirely unexpected. The signing of Dunga was expected to bring some solidity in their defense and make them threat again for major titles. However, with the move failing, the Olympics offer a hope for the team to set them on a right path prior to new boss Tite takes charge for the qualifying campaign. The squad, managed by Under-20’s boss Rogerio Micale will be expected to bring the Gold home irrespective of the happenings of the past few months.
A Hope for a fresh start under a new boss
The appointment of Tite is considered to bring the old attacking flair of the yesteryear Brazilian teams back. However, they are currently languishing at lowly sixth in their qualification group. A medal, however would provide the much needed boost to the national team before their work restarts under the new boss. For the likes of Neymar and Douglas Costa, it would finally be a burden off their backs. Neymar, having won nearly all that is on offer with Barcelona and Santos, will be eager to add a medal, Brazil’s first into his legacy that is currently in the making.
The captain is itching to set the record straight and leading from the front to do just that would be joy like no other for the Selecao captain. Costa, on the other hand, will be looking to continue his scintillating form that he has displayed in the Bundesliga. The opportunity to work under Guardiola has enhanced his game further and he will be hoping to replicate the dazzling displays that is the reason behind Bayern Munich’s willingness to part a huge chunk of their money for his signature.
It will not be easy
The resignation of Dunga has left a cloud of uncertainty on their chances. The current coach doesn’t have much of a reputation on the international scene as of now. So the path to the finals would be anything but easy. Also, the refusal by PSG to allow Marquinhos to represent the national team leaves a big question mark over their defence. His presence would have given the much needed steel to their defence.
His experience of playing big games for PSG would have aided the young squad.Now with only Neymar and Costa left to do this job, it represents a major challenge for them. Come August 20, if the national team makes it to the final, it would go a long way in exorcising the ghosts from 2014 World Cup semifinal. And Tite would surely welcome such a prospect watching from the sidelines.