Joga Bonito Doesn’t Win You Trophies!

Dev AshishAnalyst ISeptember 28, 2008

When Dunga led Brazil to their second successive Copa America title on July 15th 2006, he was criticized by fans for playing ugly, defensive football.

He replied in style, “How many trophies did we win playing joga bonito? Joga bonito doesn’t win you trophies!”

He may have ended Brazil’s era of playing beautiful football, much to the disappointment of their media and fans, but statistics provide evidence in his favor.

Joga bonito wins you fans, not trophies.

Joga bonito refers to the style of football game play, promoting fair and creative play as well as honesty and team spirit, and showing the true and beautiful side of football by having a motto of "play from the heart”.

The Brazilian national side is famous for playing joga bonito in the past, so much so that it is called the Brazilian style of football.

Tele Santana is widely credited for the invention of the “joga bonito” by the vast majority of the Brazilian press. He believed that if the opposition scores five goals against you, your obligation is not to score seven goals, but to score seven "spectacular" goals. 

But Brazil lost 3-2 to Italy in 1982 World Cup with this mentality and then lost in a penalty shoot-out to France in 1986 World Cup playing pure joga bonito.

Coaches such as Lazaroni, Parreira, and Scolari played very un-Brazilian style of football (read, European style of football) to get trophies for Brazil.

Frank Rijkaard is another manager who believed in joga bonito, but his only success season was 2005-06 with Barcelona. He even led the Holland national team to the semifinals in Euro 2004.

Jose Pekerman’s emphasis on playing joga bonito led Argentina to the quarters of World Cup 2006, wowing the world with some scintillating football (remember the 24 touch perfect goal?).

Now the question that’s lingering on the back of every football fan’s mind is whether “joga bonito” is heading towards extinction, with European style of football gaining preference among managers?

Is “joga bonito” style of football ineffective for winning trophies?