Sparkling beaches, the carnival, supermodels, Samba, Amazon rainforest, and Soccer. These are a few things this amazing South American country is known for. Yes, it is quintessentially Brazil, as we know it. Out of these 5, I think soccer is what people relate to the most in and about Brazil.
This hardly comes as a surprise, when some of the best soccer players in the world are from here. From Pele to Roberto Carlos, to Ronaldo, to Kaka, there has been an incredible pool of talent in continuously coming out of this big country.
The History of Brazilian Soccer
It all actually started during the year 1914, when Brazil could hardly manage to put together a national team, even by the merging of 2 soccer clubs in the country―Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Years later, in 1930, Brazil participated in the first soccer World Cup.
Although it was a fast exit out of the tournament for their team, the game spread everywhere in the country. In the 1938 World Cup, Brazilian Leonidas da Silva scored 4 goals, which was a first for anyone in Brazil in an international match. Keeping with the trend, 2 of the best players that Brazil ever had, Pele and Garrincha, emerged on the Brazilian football scene.
They carried the tradition ahead, and were instrumental in Brazil's monumental success in the 1958, 1962, and 1970 World Cup tournaments. Following the footsteps of these 2 were Carlos Dunga, who won the 1994 World cup for Brazil, with youngsters like Romario and Cafu.
Around that time, a buck-toothed, awkward 18-year old youngster emerged on the scene to display some amazing skills, Ronaldo. This youngster took world soccer by the scruff of its neck, along with Ronaldinho. Now, the team in the late 1990s and 2000s was getting stronger and stronger.
Soccer in Brazil had come full circle. In the 2002 World Cup, the team, with its fantastic mixture of fresh feet and old warhorses, pulled their greatest win in World Cup, eventually becoming the champions.
Facts About Soccer in Brazil
- Brazil is going to host the FIFA 2014 World Cup; the world's largest sports event.
- It has won the World Cup for the maximum number of times.
- Ronaldo, a frontline Brazilian striker, was named the most valuable player after the 1998 World Cup, even though Brazil lost to France.
- The Maracana Stadium is the most beautiful and well-known stadium in Brazil and the world over.
- Ginga, a Brazilian word, or rather a thing refers to the sway a player has in his limbs, which is a very potent way of deceiving the opponent, and targeting the goalpost in a breathtaking manner.
- Every city in Brazil has a soccer stadium. No wonder, there are so many amazing players from this country.
- The most common name used to refer to the Brazilian national team, especially in Brazil, is selecao, which literally means the selection.
- It is believed that the history of soccer in Brazil owes its origin to Charles William Miller.
After all this, I don't think I need say more about how passionate the Brazilians are about 'futebol', as they call it. I mean, a football stadium in every city is proof enough. It is said that kids in Brazil learn to play soccer before they learn to walk. It would not be very inappropriate to say that soccer is next to, or almost as important as, religion in Brazil. The 'Samba Kings' always give their best on the pitch.