People are urged to avoid talking about religion, politics, and football in Brazil in order to prevent potential disagreements. However, there is one thing that everyone can agree on right now: the national team is having difficulty. Watching the team has been a depressing experience lately, even though the team typically gives a nation of mongrels with an inherent inferiority complex a rare opportunity to boast superiority over the rest of the world perhaps only matched at the peak of Ayrton Senna’s powers or by those who think Alberto Santos-Dumont, not the Wright brothers, invented the airplane.
Being eliminated from the World Cup in the quarterfinals and then dropping two of their three games after that, to Senegal and Morocco, won’t fly for Brazil, who are supposed to win every game, typically with flair. But in actuality, this may be a much needed reality check.
Once upon a time, such teams were unbeatable. For instance, Brazil defeated Morocco 3-0 en route to the 1998 World Cup final in France. However, their most recent losses 2-1 to Morocco in March and 4-2 to Senegal this week indicate a decrease in their stature in world football.
The underdogs that these teams once were have improved. Senegal is the African champion, whereas Morocco lost to France in the World Cup semifinals in December after defeating Spain and Portugal a stage of the competition Brazil has just once reached since their most recent World Cup victory in 2002. Brazil, though, does not appear to be able to defeat anyone given the manner they are currently playing.
This Thursday, when Sadio Mané sealed Senegal’s 4-2 victory, the commentators on Brazilian TV station Globo railed at the team’s condition, with former Brazil player turned pundit Caio Ribeiro laying the blame at the team’s temporary head coach’s feet. Other nations quickly changed coaches after the World Cup, but the team is being commanded by Ramon Menezes, the under-20s’ regular boss.
This year, Menezes led the young players to victory in the South American Under-20s Championship, but his success in the top position has not persisted. Menezes has presided over two losses in three games, compared to Tite’s prior record of six losses in 81 games.
The results of a poll conducted by Globo during Brazil’s loss to Senegal were revealed. Abel Ferreira of Palmeiras and Carlo Ancelotti of Real Madrid tied for first place with 36% of the vote each. Brazil would have their first foreign manager on a permanent basis with either appointment. Many supporters and former athletes, particularly significant members of the class of 2002, are vehemently opposed to this concept. Others would choose Ferreira, who is fluent in the language and located in Brazil, where he has just won every trophy available.
Both managers are unlikely to accept the position right now. According to reports in Brazil, Ancelotti has agreed to take over, but only once his contract at the Bernabéu expires in June 2024. Ferreira said he wants to finish the season out so he can defend his league title and perhaps win the Copa Libertadores for a record breaking third time. This week, Ferreira stated, “I want to fulfill my contract.” “I’ve got that in mind. I still have a ton of games to play. Seize the day. My goal is to carry out my plan. I act with conviction.
Fernando Diniz, the manager of Fluminense, would be likely to drop everything and take the job despite his club being top of their group in the Libertadores. However, with these managers not committing immediately, the argument swings in favor of the former players like Cafu and Rivaldo, who believe Brazil should appoint a Brazilian.
Given Brazil’s current rut, time is of the importance. Later this year, they have six World Cup qualifying matches; the final one is a home match versus Argentina, the reigning champions and longtime rivals. Additionally, the Copa América in the United States in 2019 provides a chance for them to get revenge for their agonizing loss to Argentina in the previous final at the Maracana in 2021.
If Ancelotti were to take over in June of next year, he wouldn’t meet his new team until the day of the competition. Former Brazil player turned well liked analyst Walter Casagrande has requested that the matter be “quickly resolved,” recommending that the Brazilian FA (CBF) borrow Ferreira from Palmeiras when there is a Brazil game. “Want to hold off till Ancelotti? Toss a coin. It can land on its head or its tail,” he says. “We will feel ashamed until he shows up. Many teams that we previously would not have even considered drawing with will run us over.
Borrowing Ferreira is unlikely to succeed, but if he accepted the position towards the end of the year, he would at least start in time for Brazil’s March international window, which provides them a chance to play European opposition. Their failure to win the World Cup in the last two decades has been attributed to a paucity of games against elite European teams, and opportunities have been further diminished as a result of the introduction of the Nations League. In his six years tenure, Tite only faced European opponents 12 times, and the majority of those matches took place while he was working at the World Cup.
There will be a lot of work for whoever succeeds. Even though Ederson just won the treble with Manchester City, his recent Brazil performances demonstrate why Alisson usually gets the better of him. He became the first Brazil goalkeeper to allow four goals in a game since the notorious 7-1 thrashing by Germany during the 2014 World Cup when filling in for the injured Liverpool star this week against Senegal.
The goalie shouldn’t be held entirely responsible. Two of the top defenders in the world, Marquinhos and Éder Milito, have recently come off as disorganized and exposed. Marquinhos made serious mistakes in both of Brazil’s games this week, including an own goal against Senegal and a positional error that allowed Guinea to score, despite the fact that Brazil won that game 4-1.
The transformation of Joelinton from an ineffective striker to a well liked Premier League midfielder is inspiring and could not have happened to a nicer guy. However, he appears lost in a disorganized midfield that includes Lucas Paqueta, Bruno Guimares, and Casemiro, none of whom are playing at their best. On the wings, Rodrygo and Vincius Junior are more effective, but when they are not paired with a No. 9 like Karim Benzema, their performance suffers.
How do we approach Richarlison? He has carried over the effects of his allegedly “shit season” at Spurs to the national team. Since dashing through the group stage in Qatar and then disappearing in the quarterfinal when Brazil was eliminated by Croatia, he has not been the same. His terrible, clumsy dribble against Guinea, in which he battled to keep hold of the ball and appeared too timid to shoot, perfectly encapsulated his recent struggles. Fans in the stadium began clamoring for Pedro of Flamengo to take his place, and Menezes complied.
He might have regretted saying in a pre-game interview that he was the “goal man” for the Brazil side as he left the field. Even though we didn’t win the title, he remarked, “I had a good World Cup, and I think here in the national team everyone knows I’m the goal man.” Nothing is available for selection. My number is 9.
Richarlison ought to be looking over his shoulder instead of boasting. Endrick, a 16 years old Palmeiras prodigy who will join Real Madrid for €60 million in July 2024, and Vitor Roque, an 18 years old who made his international debut against Morocco, are illuminating the league and making rapid progress toward the national squad.
Perhaps all of this introspection is excessive. It wouldn’t be the first time. After a long, arduous European season, these are merely friendly games that are superfluous. As it was during the World Cup, when Brazil battled against Switzerland before succumbing to Cameroon without their talisman, Neymar’s absence was a significant contributing element.
However, it is impossible to overlook the fact that the CBF’s inaction and lack of planning are having a negative impact on a squad without a manager who needs to get to work right now to prepare for the journey to 2026. Whoever succeeds has a difficult task ahead of him. It is not as easy as handing over a talented set of people and letting them get on with things.