2010 World Cup: 10 Things To Know About Brazil
Brazil came to South Africa as joint favorites to win the World Cup.
Though Dunga’s side has not yet hit its peak, Brazil still looks like one of strongest teams in the tournament.
However, a tough test lies ahead for the Selecao, as Brazil faces one of the best European sides, the Netherlands, in the quarterfinals.
Ahead of this crucial clash at the Port Elizabeth Stadium, we bring you 10 Things to Know About Brazil.
No. 10: World Cup Kings
Brazil is the undisputed king of the World Cup, having won the competition a record five times.
The legendary striker Pelé was part of the teams that won the title in 1958, 1962 and 1970.
As the latter triumph completed a hat-trick of world championships, Brazil was allowed to permanently retain the Jules Rimet Trophy.
Brazil didn’t get its hands on the new World Cup trophy until 1994, before winning it for the second time in 2002.
Brazil has won the World Cup on four different continents, and victory in South Africa would complete the set of winning a world championship on each of the planet’s main landmasses.
Brazil is the only world champion never to have won the tournament in its own country.
It will hope to rectify that fact when Brazil hosts the next World Cup in 2014.
No. 9: Quarterfinal Appearances
Aside from its five victories, Brazil has reached the quarterfinals of the World Cup on eight previous occasions.
A Selecao lost the 1998 final to host nation France, as well as the decisive final match against Uruguay when Brazil hosted the tournament in 1950.
Brazil has been beaten in the semifinals on three occasions, in 1938, 1974 and 1978, winning the bronze medal twice.
Brazil has been eliminated at the quarterfinal stage in 1954, 1986 and in 2006, when it lost to eventual finalists France.
No. 8: Coach Looking to Create History
Brazil’s coach Dunga was the captain of the side that lifted the World Cup in 1994.
In South Africa, he is looking to become the second person to both captain and coach a World Cup winner.
The only other player to do so was West Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer, who captained his team in 1974 and was coach in 1990.
Dunga has a rival for the record at this World Cup, as Argentina’s coach Diego Maradona has also led his country to the world title as a player.
No. 7: Brazil’s Record Under Dunga
Dunga took over as coach of the national team following the disappointing 2006 World Cup campaign under Carlos Alberto Parreira.
During his time in charge Brazil has played 59 international matches, winning 42 and losing only five times.
Dunga’s side won the 2007 Copa America and the 2009 Confederations Cup in South Africa.
Brazil is hoping to lift another trophy in Johannesburg at the end of next month’s World Cup final.
Brazil has won three of its four games so far in South Africa, scoring eight goals in the process, and drew 0-0 with Portugal in its final Group G match.
No. 6: The Starting XI
Brazil was unique in fielding a team wearing squad numbers 1—11 for its opening two matches at the World Cup.
This is an indication that coach Dunga was very sure of his preferred starting 11 coming into the tournament.
Injuries and suspensions has forced the coach to shuffle his pack in subsequent games and provided other players with a chance to stake a claim in the first team for the quarterfinal clash with Holland.
Ramires impressed as he replaced the injured midfielder Felipe Melo in the second round win over Chile, offering a more attacking alternative to the defensive Juventus player and setting up Robinho for Brazil’s third goal.
Dani Alves, playing instead of another injury victim, Elano, usually features at right—back for his club side Barcelona.
Against Chile he was stationed on the right side of midfield but interchanged well with Brazil’s flying full—back, Maicon.
Dunga might have been certain of his first choice team, but Brazil’s other numbers have proved that this team has plenty in reserve.
No. 5: Yellow Cards
Ramires may have played well in the win against Chile, but he will not feature in the quarterfinal against Holland, having picked up his second yellow card of the tournament.
Brazil approach the match with three players who are one booking away from missing a potential semifinal match.
They are central defender Juan, top scorer Luis Fabiano, and play—maker Kaka, who picked up his third yellow card of the tournament against Chile, having been sent off for two bookings against Ivory Coast.
No. 4: Top Scorer Luis Fabiano
Brazil striker Luis Fabiano has scored three goals in this World Cup so far, including a brace against Ivory Coast in the group stage.
The second of these goals was very controversial, as replays showed that the Brazilian used his arm to control the ball in the lead-up to his finish, but the referee didn’t spot the infringement.
Fabiano’s World Cup strikes have brought his international goals tally to a remarkable 27 in 42 games.
He also has a great record at club level, as the Sevilla striker has scored 94 times in five seasons playing in the Spanish league.
No. 3: Brazil’s Potential Weakness
Brazil has looked like one of the strongest teams at the World Cup so far and many observers feel that Dunga’s team has yet to hit its best form.
Holland coach Bert Van Marwijk will struggle to find many weaknesses in a very solid team, but he may have identified the fullback positions as an area for his team to exploit.
Brazil’s first-choice fullbacks, Maicon and Michel Bastos, are hardly bad players, they just tend to attack a lot, which may leaves gaps at the back.
Even so, Holland is unlikely to find much joy against Maicon, who is generally regarded as the best right—back in the world, especially if Dunga decides to retain the combination on the right of the Inter player and Dani Alves.
It is likely that Holland will look to attack down its right flank where Bastos has looked vulnerable.
The Lyon player usually plays as an attacking midfielder for his club side and occasionally looks unsure of his defensive roles, which could be good news for Holland now that winger Arjen Robben looks to be back to full fitness.
Brazil’s alternative at left—back is the veteran Gilberto, but, like Bastos, the Cruzeiro player tends to feature in an attacking role for his club.
No. 2: Nicknames
Brazil practically invented the concept of soccer nicknames, and most Brazilian players are known by a cool, one-word name.
Kaká’s real name is Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite, but he earned his nickname thanks to his younger brother, who couldn’t pronounce Ricardo properly.
Brazil’s coach must surely have the worst nickname, as Dunga means Dopey in Portuguese.
Far from being a comment on Dunga’s intelligence, the nickname was given to him by an uncle who thought his nephew would not grow up to be a tall man, and so he called him after the shortest of the Seven Dwarves.
No. 1: Best-Looking Fans
Brazil’s female fans are renowned for being the best—looking supporters at any World Cup.
However, as the South African temperature drops to its regular June average of 40F, a rare winter World Cup has denied television viewers a traditional tournament highlight of the cameras focusing on beautiful Brazilian girls wearing very little clothing.
The cold has meant Brazil’s fans are wrapping up warmly, so we’ll have to wait until 2014 when the tournament will take place in their home country (although again this will be during a southern hemisphere winter).
In the meantime, you can find some of our favorite Brazil fans from World Cup’s past here.