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European teams as Brazil’s nemesis

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Brazil’s forward Douglas Costa (left) and Brazil’s forward Neymar react after losing the Russia 2018 World Cup quarter-final match against Belgium at the Kazan Arena in Kazan… on Friday. PHOTO: AFP

In the last four editions of the FIFA World Cup, the Samba Boys of Brazil have been ridiculed by European countries.

At Germany 2006, Brazil was sent packing by France. The South American giant was eliminated four years later by The Netherlands at South Africa 2010, while Germany pummeled the five-time champion 7-1 four years ago in front of their home fans.

Then, many Brazilian blamed the heavy defeat on the absence of star player, Neymar, who was injured in their quarterfinal match against Colombia, and stretchered off with a fractured vertebrae in Fortaleza.

This time around, Brazil came to Russia as one of the favourites to win the title. But it turned out to be another failed mission, which ended last Friday at the Kazan Arena. Their quarterfinal duel against Belgium ended 1-2 in favour of the Europeans.

The defeat was more painful for the fans, as it came barely two hours after another South American team, Uruguay, was dumped out by yet another European team, France.

With heavyweights including Germany, Spain and Argentina already eliminated from the World Cup, many football pundits were already looking up to Brazil to advance to the final of the competition.

In the last four tournaments since the Selecao last won the title in Korea/Japan 2002, Brazil has been eliminated three times at the quarterfinal stage.

Neymar, one of the only six survivors in the 2014 World Cup squad, who is now 26, and currently the world’s most expensive player came to Russia with the determination of putting a smile on the faces of his country men and women, but that he failed to do.

Brazil’s build-up to Russia 2018 was dominated by his battle to recover from an operation on his foot, but a sad Neymar returned to Brazil after scoring just two goals, and his greatest memory at this tourney being his tears against Costa Rica.

Under Dunga, Brazil was been knocked out on penalty by Paraguay in the quarter-final stage of the 2015 Copa America, then eliminated in the group stage of tournament the following year in the United States. It is scarcely an exaggeration to say they might not even have qualified for this World Cup had Tite not been appointed.

Before the Russia 2018 World Cup began, it was reported that the Brazilian Football Confederation was keen to tie Tite down for the next four years, through to the World Cup in Qatar.

For many Brazilian fans across the globe, all that matters now is the agony of another World Cup failure.

A majority of the fans paid heavily for the journey to Russia. There was a story of a young man who travelled by road, using his 1914 Volkswagen Beetle car from Sao Paulo to Russia. The young man said he travelled 15,000 km by road within South America, paid his way on a ship through many rivers before landing in Russia. To such a fan, the disappointment of crashing out in the quarterfinal will forever remain painful, considering the stress he had to go through to be part of the football fiesta in Russia to lend his support for his country.


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