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Opinion – Juca Kfouri: The fear of debuting at the World Cup


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For 88 years, the Brazilian team has not known what it is to lose in World Cup debut games.

It lost in the first two, in 1930 and 1934, to precisely Yugoslavia, a meeting of republics of which Serbia was a member, and to Spain, by 2 to 1 and 3 to 1, respectively.

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Since then, there have been 19 more games, with 16 wins and three draws: 0-0, again with Yugoslavia, in 1974; 1 to 1 with Sweden, in 1978, and another 1 to 1 with Switzerland, in the last Cup, in Russia, and opponent in the second game.

It is commonplace to hear that premieres are always complicated, nervous, causing butterflies in the stomach and deserving of all the attention.

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Judging by the Brazilian participation in the 21 previous World Cups, this is not the case, although it is, if the contradiction is allowed.

Because there are countless victories by more than a goal difference, to be more precise, eight, half of them.

Mexico is the main victim, defeated three times: by 4 to 0, in 1950, 5 to 0, in 1954, and 2 to 0, in 1962.

Austrians took 3-0 in 1958, as well as Bulgaria 2-0 in 1966, Czechs 4-1 in 1970, Russians 2-0 in 1994, and finally Croatia, defeated by 3 1, in 2014, in Itaquera.

Note that, with the exception of Austria, all the other teams were from countries under Soviet influence, that is, even in football, Brazilians like to beat communists and, just like that, there are people at the door of barracks afraid of the red danger, fundamentalists with their heads made up of false pastors, authentic militiamen and despicable communicators.

Back to football, as Fifa and the CBF want, although with increasing disagreement from athletes such as the English, Iranians and Germans, the victorious debuts against Russia, 2 to 1, in 1982 and Spain, 1 to 0, in 1986, both with serious refereeing errors in favor of hopscotch.

In 1990 and 1998, the 20th century ended with two hard-fought victories over Sweden and Scotland, both 2-1.

And the new century began even more difficult, with three complicated victories: 2-1 over Turkey, in 2002, thanks to a penalty committed by Luizão far outside the area; 1-0 in Croatia, in 2006, and 2-1 in North Korea (!), in 2010.

All this to say to the rare reader that it is always like this: when the groups are drawn, the distance to the start of the Cup gives rise to optimistic projections, even those that say it is the obligation of the Brazilian team to qualify in first place. .

As the first game approaches, the discourse changes, the magnifying glass reveals what is already known, that Serbia, for example, ended the qualifiers undefeated, in first place, and forced the excellent team of Portugal, in second, to play in the play-offs .

There are indeed reasons to be concerned about the Serbs, favoritism aside, even if they have even more reason to be concerned about the Brazilians.

It is true that the climate is good in the CBF headquarters (whoops!) and that the team was fortunate enough to be spared from injuries, unlike other favorites such as France and Argentina, and that, under normal conditions of temperature and pressure, winning is the most probable.

Except that all that is missing in Qatar —much less on the opening stage, the huge Lusail stadium, for 80,000 fans that springs from the desert as if it were a UFO— is normal temperature conditions.

In short: it won’t be a surprise that the team wins the sixth round, nor does it drop out of the group stage.

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I am a highly experienced and successful news journalist, with many years of experience in the industry. I have worked for some of the biggest news organisations in the world, and have gained a huge amount of knowledge and expertise in the field. I am now working as an author at News Bulletin 247, where I mostly cover sports news. I am a highly skilled writer and reporter, with a keen eye for detail and a passion for finding stories that others might miss. I am always looking for new and interesting ways to tell stories, and my work is always of the highest quality. I am also a very experienced editor, with a good understanding of how to make stories flow well and be easy to read.

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