Coming up

Don't miss




Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more


Central African Republic: Brazzaville ceasefire talks deliver fragile deal

Read more


Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

Read more


Bartabas : Mixing Christ with Spanish music and dancing horses

Read more


Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more


French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more


Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more


Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

  • France says missing Algerian plane 'probably crashed'

    Read more

  • Wreckage from missing Algerian plane reportedly found: Malian TV

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Pope meets with Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death for apostasy

    Read more

  • Algerian jet vanishes: 'We should eliminate the missile hypothesis'

    Read more

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to easy victory in 18th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • US, European aviation agencies lift travel restrictions to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

  • Can Jew-kissing-Arab selfie give peace a viral chance?

    Read more

  • Botched Arizona execution takes nearly two hours

    Read more


Brazil aims to break Olympic curse with football gold

Text by Dan LEVY

Latest update : 2012-08-11

Despite boasting the most World Cup wins of any country, Brazil has never won Olympic gold in football. But coach Mario Menezes’ team hopes to change all that when they take on Mexico in the final at Wembley on Saturday.

Despite being highly regarded as the world’s most decorated footballing nation, Brazil have never won Olympic gold in the sport -- a glaring anomaly.

If the men’s team can overcome Mexico in the final at Wembley this Saturday, coach Mario Menezes’ collection of young players will be able to claim an historic achievement no other Seleção (Portugese for “team”) has yet managed.

Brazil boast the most World Cup wins of any country, with five titles, but they have drawn a blank over 60 years of Olympic history.

The women’s team’s involvement tells a similar story. They have appeared at the Olympics on all five occasions since it was introduced in the 1996 Atlanta Games, and, like their male counterparts, the closest they have come to gold is earning silver twice.

But many feel now that Brazil’s time has finally come: Menezes’s players have won all of their matches so far, averaging three goals per game (in the purest way possible: they have scored exactly three goals in each of their five games). If they are able to repeat the same against Mexico, the elusive gold will be theirs.

Eying Rio de Janeiro 2016

With the next Olympic Games being held in Brazil in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, and the next World Cup in Brazil as well, two years prior, nothing would give Brazilian football fans greater pleasure than a maiden Olympic gold to defend on home turf. And this in the footballing home of the nation that gave the modern form of the sport to the world. Coach Menezes has called London’s Wembley stadium, “the temple of football”.

As an Olympic sport, football is often regarded as somewhat incongruent. While the Games represent the pinnacle of any participant’s career for most events, that is far from the case in modern football’s highly commercialised universe.

Most of the players involved are not the best their nation has to offer. A large proportion of the world’s best footballers never get anywhere near competing at the Olympics for their country. This is partly due to the selection criteria: teams can only field players aged 23 or under, plus three older players.

Overshadowed by World Cup

Olympic football is overshadowed, first and foremost, by the World Cup, followed by the Champions League, the European championship and Copa America. These are the competitions that represent the highest level of the sport.

Yet it has not always been this way. Much was made of Spain’s recent treble success, lauded as a world first, as they won three major competitions in a row. In capturing their second consecutive Euro crown in Kiev on July 1st by thrashing Italy 4-0, they earned another Euro title to top their World Cup win in South Africa two years previously.

Except it had been done before: Uruguay won consecutive Olympic Games in 1924 and 1928, before claiming the inaugural World Cup on home turf in 1930. That people don’t count this achievement alongside Spain’s is indicative of how Olympic football is viewed by many.

In Brazil, things are different. Despite their unequalled international success, the Brazilians want this win badly. And with such a talented team it is surely there for the taking against a Mexico side making an Olympic final debut.

Squad packed with talent

Brazil’s squad boasts many players that will form a team fancied to win the World Cup on home turf in 2014.

Leandro Damião is one of them, and has six of Brazil’s 15 goals so far, including two in their comfortable 3-0 semi-final win over South Korea.

Neymar is the star attraction -- a man the legendary Pele described as better than Lionel Messi. A partisan view perhaps, but Neymar already has over 100 career goals at the age of 20, and his time as the planet's best player will surely come.

As well as the Santos star, Brazil boast a collection of other youngsters that, if it were not for a financial renaissance in the Brazilian game, would already be lighting up the Champions League, or are already about to.

The supremely talented Ganso is one of them, as is Paris Saint-Germain’s newly-signed Lucas Moura, and new Chelsea recruit Oscar.

There are also established names such as captain and new PSG defender Thiago Silva, FC Porto’s Hulk, AC Milan’s Alexandre Pato, and Real Madrid’s Marcelo.

These players are already global stars, and their careers will not be defined by what happens in London. The furthering of their club-career legacies will not be at stake come Saturday’s 3pm kick off. Instead, they could do something no other player from the world’s foremost footballing nation has ever done -- and that, for most of Brazil, is worth more than its weight in gold.

Date created : 2012-08-08

  • World Cup 2014

    World Cup host Brazil accepts FIFA apology

    Read more


    Brazil now world's 6th largest economy, says think tank

    Read more