Previous
Juventus
Malmo FF
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Olympiakos
Atletico Madrid
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Liverpool
Ludogorets Razgrad
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Real Madrid
FC Basel
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
AS Monaco
Bayer Leverkusen
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Benfica
Zenit St Petersburg
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Borussia Dortmund
Arsenal
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Galatasaray
Anderlecht
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
AFC Bournemouth
Leeds United
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Birmingham City
Sheffield Wednesday
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Blackpool
Watford
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Brentford
Norwich City
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Cardiff City
Middlesbrough
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Charlton Athletic
Wolverhampton Wanderers
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Huddersfield Town
Wigan Athletic
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Ipswich Town
Brighton & Hove Albion
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Bolton Wanderers
Rotherham United
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Reading
Millwall
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Colchester United
Sheffield United
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Doncaster Rovers
Crawley Town
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Gillingham
Peterborough United
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Milton Keynes Dons
Bradford City
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Notts County
Leyton Orient
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Port Vale
Bristol City
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Preston North End
Chesterfield
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Rochdale
Walsall
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Scunthorpe United
Coventry City
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Swindon Town
Oldham Athletic
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Yeovil Town
Crewe Alexandra
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
AFC Wimbledon
Burton Albion
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Bury
Stevenage
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Cambridge United
Exeter City
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Cheltenham Town
Southend United
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Mansfield Town
Morecambe
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Northampton Town
Hartlepool United
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Oxford United
Accrington Stanley
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Plymouth Argyle
Wycombe Wanderers
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Portsmouth
Dagenham & Redbridge
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Shrewsbury Town
Carlisle United
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Tranmere Rovers
Newport County
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
York City
Luton Town
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Aldershot Town
Braintree Town
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Alfreton Town
AFC Telford United
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Bristol Rovers
Nuneaton Town
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Chester City
Southport
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Dartford
Dover
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Eastleigh
Forest Green Rovers
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Halifax
Grimsby Town
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Kidderminster Harriers
Altrincham
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Macclesfield Town
Gateshead
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Torquay United
Woking
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Welling
Lincoln City
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Barnet
Wrexham
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Rangers
Inverness Caledonian Thistle
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Waterhouse
DC United
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Cruz Azul
Chorrillo FC
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Portland Timbers
Olimpia
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Estudiantes La Plata
Gimnasia La Plata
10:00 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Independiente del Valle
Cerro Porteño
10:00 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Deportivo Capiatá
Caracas F.C.
12:15 AM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Peñarol
Deportivo Cali
12:30 AM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Guadalajara
Tijuana
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Mérida
Atlante
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Puebla
Morelia
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Celaya
Necaxa
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Coras Tepic
Zacatepec
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Dorados de Sinaloa
Mineros de Zacatecas
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Monterrey
Santos
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Toluca
UNAM
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
América Mineiro
Bragantino
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Avaí
Sampaio Correa-MA
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Goianiense
América RN
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Náutico
Joinville
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Paraná Clube
Ceará
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Portuguesa de Desportos
Boa MG
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
ABC
AA Ponte Preta
12:50 AM GMT
Game Details
Icasa
Vila Nova-GO
12:50 AM GMT
Game Details
Luverdense
Santa Cruz FC
12:50 AM GMT
Game Details
Oeste
CR Vasco da Gama
12:50 AM GMT
Game Details
Al Hilal
Al-Ain
5:30 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Bidvest Wits
Amazulu
Postp
Game Details
Kaizer Chiefs
Maritzburg Utd
Postp
Game Details
Next

No recent activity

Jun 9, 2014

Deromanticising Brazil's relationship with the Selecao

Three-time World Cup champion Pele discusses "the most important tournament in the world".

The first thing I did after landing at Sao Paulo's Guarulhos International Airport for the 2013 Confederations Cup was nip into the gentleman's bathroom. I emerged positively giddy after discovering that in Brazil even the urinal cakes in public bathrooms had famous strikers' faces etched on them.

Here was immediate proof of the nation besotted with football I had always heard about, one in which, after searing national team losses, suicides are rumored, government inquisitions demanded and Brazilian flags flown at half-staff.

Yet as I soon discovered, things were not entirely as they seemed. After following the Brazilian national team's dashing, anthem-propelled journey to Confederations Cup glory, the relationship between the people and the team was far from the poetic romance I projected. Football fans and journalists alike discussed the team and the Brazilian Football Confederation with a sense of hard-nosed commercial reality.

In Salvador, a town known as "the African capital of Latin America," I watched the Selecao thump Italy in front of a virtually all-white crowd. The only black face in my section was a food vendor who told me with disgust, "The Brazilian national team is beloved only among casual fans who don't follow football week in, week out."

Is the relationship between the Brazilian people and their national team not as close as advertised?

"A lot of what we believe when we talk about Brazilian football is about a mythical reality that does not exist," said David Goldblatt, academic and author of "Futebol Nation: The Story of Brazil Through Soccer." "Everybody in Brazil would like the team to play the same symbolic role as the great squads of the 1950s and '60s and herald a return to the golden age that gave us the imagery and language we draw upon to describe and think about Brazilian football -- the mercurial Garrincha in 1962, of a nation dancing while a red municipal fire engine pulls the team from the airport to the presidential palace. But Brazil has changed so much since then, and so has Brazilian football."

Paulo Vinicius Coelho, the iconic Brazilian broadcaster on ESPN and columnist for Folha de S. Paulo, is able to pinpoint the main difference since the golden age of the '60s and '70s.

"The main players no longer play [domestically] in Brazil; they play abroad, so they do not develop the same emotional relationship because club fans cannot see their development week in, week out," he said. "Just look at David Luiz, who has never played in the top flight of the Brazilian league."

The distance and unimaginable wealth enjoyed by Brazil's players is compounded by the fact that the national team itself feels more foreign. "The CBF [Brazilian Football Confederation] sold the rights to their friendlies to a sports agency who keep them on the road playing lucrative games," Goldblatt told me.

"The federation have an agreement with European clubs so the players will only fly small distances, which means the team play games in London and Switzerland more than in Brazil, where the poor people can see them live," Coelho said. "It is an important factor in the relationship between the team and the fans."

With the weight of a nation on his shoulders, this summer will do much to define Neymar's eventual legacy.
With the weight of a nation on his shoulders, this summer will do much to define Neymar's eventual legacy.

Goldblatt noted that this change has occurred over decades. "In truth, that sense of the team as commercialized commodity kicked off in 1996 when the federation signed their first, massive deal with Nike, which has become the richest in football," he said. "They can charge more than any other team in the sport, and no one is blaming [them] for that, but no one knows exactly where the money is going. It is definitely not flowing down to the grassroots or the women's game."

The hyper-commercialisation swamping the team is, in a way, a symbol of the extent to which Brazil itself has changed over the past 60 years. "In 1950, Brazil was a world away from how we think about it today," Coelho said. "There were no big cities; even Sao Paulo was more rural. There was no industrialization, movies or restaurants. The only thing to do was to watch football."

This line of thinking allows the broadcaster to flip the argument on its head. While Brazilians might not love their soccer team the way we imagine, that might never have been the case. "To be truthful, I don't believe they loved the [national] team more back in the '50s and '60s," he said. "Yes, the feeling that the team made us feel more of a nation is truer than today, but there are so many romantic stories told about the loss in 1950 with very few documented realities. People always say there were suicides, but back then journalists were not really journalists; they were popular writers, so the myths that surround the past may not be true at all."

Goldblatt agrees. "In a way, 1950 has been slightly exaggerated by the Rio intellectual elite whose voices we hear tell the story more than any other," he said. "In Sao Paulo, it was far more back to work as usual after the game." And what of 2014?

"How Brazil hosts and organizes the tournament will be more important than the way its team performs," Goldblatt said. "If the team loses, it will not be a national trauma. If it wins, it will be a fantastic party, but it won't have the depth of meaning of the '50s or '60s.

"If Brazil fail to win, there will be a lot of anger at the CBF for spending so much money over the last seven years with nothing to show for it. I foresee a depression for the football industry in Brazil but not for Brazilian society or the economy."

I ask Coelho to imagine the impact of a Brazilian win, and he collects himself before answering. "The Confederations Cup surprised many of us who thought a special relationship with the team no longer exists," he said. "A big World Cup can change that relationship and make it intense once again."