Opinion – Juca Kfouri: The Brazilian team, without Neymar, revealed the manhood of a mature team


Small San Juan, called the Argentine capital of roller hockey, will be a milestone if the Brazilian team returns six-time champions of the Qatar World Cup.

A possibility that few believed even 0-0 against Argentina in a ridiculous climate of war and under pusillanimous arbitration by the Uruguayan trio and Conmebol’s homemade VAR.

Otamendi’s elbow in Raphinha deserved more than the red card, but the arrest of the veteran defender.

Despite this, what was seen was a mature team, albeit full of boys, capable of resisting provocations, without confusing manliness with maleness.

So mature that he allowed him to leave a question in the air: would Neymar bear it without being expelled? We will never know.

We learned that the defensive system, without Casemiro and without resorting to fouls, only allowed a dangerous move from Messi’s feet, apparently out of his best form.

As we knew what we actually already knew: Matheus Cunha has the technique and physical imposition to be the starting center forward.

Vinícius Junior is a case apart.

On the day he’s able to finish what it’s like to set fire to the game, to dare without fear of a frown, it can be the unbalancing factor that Neymar is often, many times it ceases to be. And the Real Madrid boy has a year to improve the last move.

Of 13 unbeaten games with two draws in these dreary Qualifiers, the 0-0 in San Juan was by far the best Brazilian performance, even better than the 4-1 rout over sadly decaying Uruguay, threatened like mighty Italy of not go to Qatar, exactly the two champions of the first four World Cups, two each in 1930, 1934, 1938 and 1950.

In recent Cups, we have seen a European superiority that the Old World Qualifiers show to a lesser degree if we compare the difference between the quality of Champions and Libertadores.

If the Brazilian team is able to repeat the level of concentration shown against Argentina in that hostile climate in which even the National Anthem was booed, Germany, England, Spain and France, the other members of the closed club of eight champions, will have a hard time for front.

The team’s three goalkeepers are excellent, the area defenders the same, although the full-backs are not so much, more defenders than offensive, although Guilherme Arana has room to grow even more.

What’s missing, it’s true, is a Kevin De Bruyne, or even a De Arrascaeta, because Lucas Paquetá, even capable of killing himself on the field, is far from being the organizer that Amarelinha needs.

Can Raphael Veiga become? Everton Ribeiro? Claudinho? Renato Augusto?

Finally, there is time to find who else can be the thinker of Tite’s team, who had the undeniable merit of being brave in the most aggressive terrain of the South American tournament.


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