They are the most successful team in World Cup history. But five triumphs aren’t good enough. Not at least for Brazil. Twelve years have passed since Cafu touched down at the Rio airport, showing his country their most prized possession from the cockpit window. Now there is clamour for fresh memories.
At home, in just over 18 months, it’s the greatest task Brazil have faced since the 1950 World Cup. And considering the infrastructure required to stage it, the 2014 World Cup seems like a double-edged for them. This year’s Confederation Cup, a dress rehea-rsal for the World Cup will give a clearer idea about their state of preparedness on and off the field.
Earlier in 2012 Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke controversially shook Brazil by saying that the organisers needed to give themselves “a kick up the backside” to get the World Cup ready on time. Things have improved thereafter but according to a recent Reuters report, expenses are already three times over budget and are being built with taxpayers’ money despite initial promises that private enterprise would foot the bill.
Overall, the estimated cost of stadiums has more than trebled since Brazil were awarded the tournament in 2007. The current official estimate of $3.68 bn (R20,200 cr) is well above the $1.87 bn (R 10,266 cr) Germany spent on its 12 stadiums for the 2006 World Cup and more than twice the $1.48 bn (R8,125 cr) South Africa had spent on 10 arenas in 2010. That makes this the most expensive World Cup already.
Ultimately though, it all comes down to football. And Brazil have always believed in winning with flair. But with Spain taking over the reign by their flowing tiki-taka, there has been a gradual loss of identity for the Selecao. Opting for Luiz Felipe Scolari after sacking coach Mano Menezes has led to the belief that desperation has prompted the Brazil football federation (CBF) to choose him.
Brazil have slumped to 18 in the Fifa ranking table, their worst ever, and there seems to be no plan in place yet for even the Conf-ederations Cup. But that’s the way it has been for Brazil — disorganised but winning it by mere talent. Soon, we will have an idea whether they can do it again.