Previous
CSKA Moscow
Bayern Munich
4:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Manchester City
AS Roma
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Apoel Nicosia
Ajax Amsterdam
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Paris Saint-Germain
Barcelona
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Schalke 04
NK Maribor
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Sporting Lisbon
Chelsea
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
BATE Borisov
Athletic Bilbao
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Shakhtar Donetsk
FC Porto
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Brighton & Hove Albion
Cardiff City
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Derby County
AFC Bournemouth
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Middlesbrough
Blackpool
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Millwall
Birmingham City
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Norwich City
Charlton Athletic
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Rotherham United
Blackburn Rovers
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Sheffield Wednesday
Ipswich Town
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Watford
Brentford
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Wigan Athletic
Nottingham Forest
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Crewe Alexandra
Notts County
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
AFC Telford United
Chester City
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Alfreton Town
Halifax
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Altrincham
Macclesfield Town
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Braintree Town
Barnet
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Dover
Aldershot Town
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Eastleigh
Bristol Rovers
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Forest Green Rovers
Torquay United
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Grimsby Town
Southport
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Lincoln City
Gateshead
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Welling
Dartford
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Woking
Nuneaton Town
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Wrexham
Kidderminster Harriers
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Aberdeen
St Mirren
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
León
Monterrey
1:06 AM GMT
Game Details
Atlas
Queretaro
1:30 AM GMT
Game Details
U.A.N.L
Santos
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
São Paulo
Huachipato
11:30 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Icasa
Luverdense
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Sampaio Correa-MA
Portuguesa de Desportos
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Vila Nova-GO
Ceará
10:30 PM GMT
Game Details
AA Ponte Preta
Paraná Clube
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Al-Ain
Al Hilal
3:15 PM GMT
Leg 2Aggregate: 0 - 3
Game Details
Herediano
Universidad De Costa Rica
Postp
Postponed - now being played Wed, Oct 1
Game Details
Next

Duarte: Could Coutinho boost Brazil?

Brazil Aug 14, 2014
Read

Duarte: Dunga's return is complicated

Brazil Jul 21, 2014
Read

Brazil will be better prepped for 2018

Brazil Jul 15, 2014
Read
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."