This month, 20 years ago, in Japan, Brazil won the Cup for the fifth time. I was present as a columnist. PVC tells all the details in the great book “Five Stars – the Conquest of Penta”.
In 2001, when he was invited to be the coach of the national team, Felipão was coach of Cruzeiro. I talked to him in Belo Horizonte. I was impressed with the Argentinian team, directed by Bielsa, soaring, the best of the Qualifiers. Argentina was eliminated in the first phase of the World Cup, and Brazil was champion.
Felipão organized the team, on the drawing board, in the same way as Argentina, with three defenders, two wingers (Roberto Carlos and Cafu), a defensive midfielder (Gilberto Silva), an attacking midfielder (Juninho Paulista) and three forwards (Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Rivaldo).
It didn’t work in the first phase of the Cup, because the two wingers played leaning against the side, and Juninho was more of a forward, leaving Gilberto Silva alone in midfield. Argentina, in the Qualifiers, was more compact, had two wingers who acted alongside the steering wheel, as point guards, as Manchester City usually does today.
In the round of 16, Felipão changed, and the team improved by putting Kleberson in place of Juninho Paulista. Kleberson scored as a midfielder and advanced as a midfielder.
I almost became world champion in 2002. When Leão was fired, CBF president Ricardo Teixeira invited me to be the technical director. I would choose the coach, which would be Felipão. I was fascinated by the invitation, the position and the challenge, and I told him that I would give him the answer the next day, even though I already knew I wouldn’t accept it, because I had no appreciation for CBF and Ricardo Teixeira, already accused, at the time, of cheating. I also thought that one of the reasons for the invitation was to give a treat, to reduce criticism of the entity, because I was world champion as a player and columnist for a major newspaper.
On the eve of the 2002 World Cup final, German journalists at the press center told me that finalist Germany was one of the worst in the country’s history. The level of the Cup really wasn’t good, which doesn’t take away from the enormous merits of the Brazilian team.
After that World Cup, everyone realized that it was necessary to improve, and an evolution in football began, which will never end. Germany invested in the training of players, in the way of acting, formed a great generation, the 7-1, and won in 2014. But the great transformation was made in Barcelona, directed by Guardiola, followed by the Spain team, which, in addition to enchanting, she was twice champion of the Eurocup, in 2008 and 2012, and world champion, in 2010.
Today, teams are more compact, attacking and defending as a block, with intensity and speed, putting pressure on whoever has the ball across the field, goalkeepers have learned to play outside the goal and to make good passes, midfielders one intermediary to the other, they defend, build and advance, and so many other details. It’s another football.
On the other hand, the basic rules of football remain the same. It is said that almost 150 years ago, the English, drinking beer in a pub, officially decided the rules of the game, such as the size of the lawn, the marking of the lines of the areas, the midfield and the penalty, the number of 11 players for each side and many other things that endure, such as the exchange of passes, a symbol of collective football, although many insist to this day on kicking to quickly reach the goal.
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