Brazils silver lining

Written by Shamik Chakrabarty | Shamik Chakrabarty | Updated: Jul 13 2014, 06:06am hrs
Jose Barreto is a thinking footballer who has always been very measured in his reaction on and off the pitch. It was expected of him to take the blow on the chin and try to put things in perspective after Brazils biggest-ever football humiliation.

Im a footballer and know that the game can be cruel at times. We conceded seven goals in a World Cup semi-final because we didnt have any defensive organisation. Germany were far superior in every department, he told this correspondent following the rout.

Barreto is a Brazilian footballer who came to Kolkata and became a Mohun Bagan legend. He was a product of the famous Gremio youth academy where he had Brazils World Cup-winner Lucio as a companion.

Barreto was not talented enough to play for his country and plied his trade in a nondescript football nation like India. But thats not important here. He was part of the Brazilian football mainstream long enough to know how things work at home and what needs to be done for improvement.

Barreto says Brazil have fallen behind. The European giants have moved way ahead of us technically and tactically, and to bridge the gap, we must bring in a top coach from that continent. Someone like Jurgen Klinsmann would be an ideal choice.

Traditionalists, who often swear by jogo bonito (Brazils beautiful game), might consider this blasphemous. A European coach for the five-time world champions! But this World Cup clearly highlighted Brazils shortcomings. Theyve to remould.

Brazil have already changed a lot. From Sebastiao Lazaroni to Luiz Felipe Scolari, European professionalismcynicism, according to some emotional die-hardshas been consciously brought into Brazilian football over the past two decades. It was the need of the hour because the game has changed. You no longer get free spaces on the pitch that Pele, Garrincha, Rivelino, Jairzinho, Tostao and later Zico, Socrates, Romario and Bebeto and even Ronaldo and Ronaldinho used to enjoy. And football is getting tighter by the day. The average distance covered by every team in every game in this World Cup is more than 10 km. The team average is higher in a tougher tournament like the Champions League. So Brazil have to change further despite the fact that theyve won the World Cup twice in the last 20 years.

Lack of match-winners is also a problem. Neymar apart, Brazil simply dont have players to get out of the maze through individual brilliance. They have to rely on teamwork and theres nothing wrong in adopting a more critical attitude.

All top Brazilian footballers, save Fred, play in Europe. European methods have firmly been ingrained in their system. Theres a school of thought that the young talents shouldnt be allowed to go abroad which, obviously, is a load of rubbish. Brazil cant match the top European leagues in terms of money and popularity. So players will leave for greener pastures and preventing them would be a violation of human rights.

Gone are the days when a superstar like Pele will start and finish his career at Santos. Brazil have to accept the reality and move forward the European way. Why not a coach from Europe then An elite manager who wont carry the excess baggage of past achievements and will be ruthless enough to set a roadmap for the future on his own terms. The country has 200 million football experts. Not all can be pleased.

Make no mistake, even Sir Alex Ferguson couldnt have guided this Brazilian team to World Cup glory. There was not enough quality.

Captain Thiago Silva apart, no player in this squad is an automatic pick for their respective club sides. The progress to the semi-finals was laboured and against Germany, Silvas absence became a huge factor. Scolari was a little too attacking in his approach and left a gaping hole in rearguard. The Germans came in droves and bereft of the composure that their regular captain offers, Brazil panicked and capitulated.

Theres no shame in losing to a German team that is arguably the best of this generation. The 7-1 margin was inexplicable, but this can happen in football. This is a very young Brazilian side and theres no reason that they cant regroup. They have to forget this result though. Social media is expectedly full of schedenfrued at the moment, but the Selecao are too strong and passionate a football force not to bounce back.

Every cloud has a silver lining. This hammering presents an opportunity to rebuild. Remember, Germany had lost to England 5-1 in front of 63,000 home fans at the Olympic Stadium in Munich in 2001. Then they failed to reach the knockout stages of Euro 2004. An overhaul was initiated and Germany built for the long term. Die Mannschaft became more creative to remove the stagnation. They climbed up the ladder again through collective efforts. From Klinsmann to Joachim Loew, Louis Van Gaal (when he was Bayern Munich boss), Jupp Heynckes and Jurgen Klopp, all contributed. A golden generation of footballers were nurtured properly to revive the glory.

Germany are comfortably the best team in this World Cup and also most exciting. It would be an injustice to football if they dont win the title at Maracana.

Brazil have to learn from Germany to avenge the German humiliation.