Opinion – Marcelo Damato: Argentina and France have assets that Brazil lost

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Opinion – Marcelo Damato: Argentina and France have assets that Brazil lost

On the night of July 7, 1998, there was an atmosphere of almost euphoria among Brazilian journalists. The national team had just eliminated the Netherlands in the semifinals and, for most, that meant that the penta was in hand. Hardly anyone imagined that France could win the final.

At that time, the Blues were almost coffee with milk in football. Six World Cups later, they are one step away from overthrowing another exclusivity of Brazil: two World Cups in a row.

How did France get there? The easiest answer is Clairefontaine, the famous player training center of the French federation (FFF). There, the most promising youngsters are developed, who are then passed on to the clubs. Today, there are many other training centers, but the FFF still has a coordinating role, unlike in Brazil.

The ability to train players, especially in the Greater Paris region, has made France the most frequent country of origin for players in the World Cup for some World Cups. In the 2018 Cup, there were 50 natives of France. In Qatar, the number has risen to at least 56.

In Brazil, the focus from the beginning is on making the boy a source of income for the family — most boys won’t make it there. The charge is so great that a phenomenon like Neymar, at 30, is already thinking about reducing his pace. After all, he’s been in the spotlight since he was 13.

Because of the pursuit of money, in Brazil football has been a business since before childhood.

And what to learn from Argentina? Its sports leaders are even worse than Brazil’s. The planning is worse, the championship is worse, the money is less.

But in Argentina there is still a mystique, a faith in the greatest values ​​of football, the dream of a magical game, the sense of community and equality among all fans.

This common faith makes the supporters feel part of the clubs, and so they always support. And they only charge when all is lost. Players are charged only commitment.

On the contrary, Brazilian fans, especially those from the middle class, act like customers in their own stadium. Especially after the stadiums started to have more comfort and higher prices, fans demand victory in return for the ticket price.

These fans do not push the team, but are pulled by it. There are exceptions, of course, the most famous being the Corinthians fans.

In the 2014 World Cup, the question I answered the most to foreign journalists was: “Why do Brazilian fans boo their team so much?” (well before 7 to 1). The answer was that Brazilians don’t like to feel part of the defeat. When the team starts to face difficulties, Brazilians disconnect from it booing.

Interestingly, in the old days, 50 years ago, this union existed, judging by the reports and images.

British journalist Tim Vickery said on SporTV that this has to do with the history of slavery. His argument was rejected out of hand, but I think it would be worth further analysis.

After all, the idea survives that the player is “an employee”, and not the representative of a huge family, dream or religion called club or country.

The false moralism against dyed hair, dancing and expensive restaurants is a good starting point to investigate why we act like this.

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