I found some jogo bonito

April 24, 2010 at 4:48 am Leave a comment

How would you characterize the following play?  Brazil’s number 10, alone amid several green shirts, finds the center-forward with his back to goal.  The center-forward meets the pass and one-touches it back, the number 10 drifts left as he receives it and defenders close in, the left-winger drifts in to fill the open space in the middle.  A smart back-heel pass into the wingers path leaves him facing the goal, he releases quickly to the center-forward, runs into the box, gets a back-heel pass right into his path again and, where minutes ago 3 yellow shirts were outnumbered and unmoving, now the winger sits alone facing the keeper and side-foots home an easy goal.

Would you call it beautiful?

If I told you we beat Argentina and Uruguay away, 3×1 and 4×0 respectively, would you not be impressed?  Wouldn’t watching either of these two goals make you even more impressed?

I could go on and on as anyone who knows me would tell you.  Let me just  move on to the point: Brazil still plays beautiful football, “jogo bonito” and you will find it in highlights all over the internet.  Our forwards didn’t lose their amazing first touch when we were knocked out in 1982, our passers didn’t forget how to place the ball at their teammates’ feet, and our ball-handlers didn’t forget how to “caress the ball” as we say in Brazil.

Today’s perception of “jogo bonito” is based more on highlights than it is on the reality of 90 minute games.  Brazil 1958/62 and 1970 were not the Globetrotters.  They missed shots, passes and traps almost as much as any other Brazilian team.  They were not unbeatable.  A mix of both squads is responsible for our worst ever performance in 1966 and we did not win the Copa America for 40 years.  It would be possible to put together a set of lowlights of those teams and point to them as more dire than today’s Brazil.  Most humorously, recently here on bigsoccer I ran into “Pele is shite” a bit from a British comedy program that helps illustrate the reality I’m pointing too, through its caricature:

Simply put, if Pele was not shite, then “jogo bonito” is not dead.  It didn’t die in 1994 and briefly come back to life only to die again when Dunga was named the coach.  The difference is in the game itself, the game itself has changed and beautiful football is played in a different context than it was before.  If you want “jogo bonito” today stick to highlights – just as you do when you watch past eras now.  If you want to see it happen in the context of a game, join me in watching Brazil and appreciate the beauty of winning and the joy of the beautiful moments.


Entry filed under: Brazil.

Learning what Brazil is all about Predicting Brazil’s call-up

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