Brazil's World Cup Total Destruction: Does Country Have Old Boston Celtics Problem?

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The best ever, Pele was peerless

[The World Cup]

Brazil's World Cup soccer team seemed to be in a trance or a daze as it was annihilated by Germany 7-1 today.

The Germans actually did run circles around them, and had the host nation and five-time World Cup champs chasing after the ball.

The game was essentially over after the second goal when the Brazilian players seemed completely stunned that what was happening was actually happening to them.

The players stared at each other in total confusion. They each seemed to be saying 'Wait a minute, we're the best team in the world this can't happen to us.'

Each player thought the other player was about to start playing defense, so they all waited. There was not a single meaningful tackle even as the Germans neared the penalty box area.

Pretty much any one playing at World Cup level can shoot and score from any place close to the box. Yet the Brazilians just stared and allowed the Germans to pass to each other, as many as four and five times, either insider or near the box.

So the flood gates opened. Then the look of panic and fear took over. The look of 'Could we be beaten by 10 goals today'?

Only one of the shots that scored in the first half was a hard shot. The rest we placed precisely away from the goalie or pass him after the rebound.

They were not spectacular goals. The Brazilian defenders were spectacularly resigned to defeat 30 minutes into the game.

The Germans came to win.

Among the many things the Brazil loss exposed were these two:

The presence of star forward Neymar, who was out with the back injury, had masked the defense's weaknesses. Opposing teams focused on guarding the Brazilian frontline so players didn't wander too far away from their end into the Brazilian zone as the Germans did with abandon today.

The loss also exposed an issue that Brazil may now have to confront head-on. And after such a humbling defeat, this may be the time to ask the questions.

Why is it that Brazil's national team, especially in recent years, has rarely reflected the country's rich ethnic diversity? Why is it that the country has not fielded a World Cup soccer team with many players who look like the legendary Pele? Are there in fact players who never get selected to the top squad who resemble the world's best soccer player ever and may posses skills close to Pele's during his heyday?

It would be a shame if through the decades, Brazil, through its selection process for its national soccer team, has focused only on a narrow pool and precluded the chance of always fielding the best team.

Some Brazilians claim the country has "no race issue" and that they are all simply Brazilians. That is of course not a realistic assessment. Complexion does matter --not only in Brazil-- when it comes to most prominent positions, in politics, in business, and in other aspect of social and professional life.

Does Brazil in fact have the old Boston Celtics problem before the team finally resembled other NBA teams?

These are questions that the Brazilian authorities will have to ponder.

It's not credible to believe that the players that have been fielded through the years were selected purely on talent alone and, just by coincidence, rarely looked like Pele.



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