Why is brazil so good at soccer ?Brazil have been regarded as one of the best footballing countries for some time now. They seem to have the incredible ability to continually produce world superstars such as Pelé, Ronaldinho, Kaká and many more.
In this article, we ask, why is Brazil so good at football? We discuss the important role that futsal plays in their player development, not only in Brazil but across South America, as well as their population, local derbies and more. If you want to become a Brazilian football expert, we recommend reading on.
Why Is Brazil So Good at Football?
Brazil are really good at football due to a combination of futsal being a great development tool for young players, football and competitiveness being heavily ingrained in the country’s culture, and the country having a large population.
A Brief History of Football in Brazil
Football has been a beloved sport in Brazil for over a century, and it’s even considered the national sport of the country. The history of football in Brazil began when Scottish immigrant Thomas Donohoe introduced the sport in the late 1800s. The first recorded football match in Brazil took place in 1894 next to Donohoe’s workplace in Bangu.
In the early 1900s, football grew in popularity, and “Campeonato Paulista” was established in 1902, Brazil’s first footballing competition. Following this, the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) was founded in 1914 to oversee the sport’s development at the national level.
The 1950 World Cup was hosted by Brazil, and it represented a significant moment in the country’s football history. Brazil expected to win the tournament, but a surprise loss to Uruguay in the final at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro left the country stunned. There was a record attendance at the final, with officially 173,850 people watching.
In the 1950s and 1960s, Brazilian football thrived, with the country producing some of the most talented players in the world, including Pelé, Garrincha, and Zico.
With the help of these superstars, Brazil won its first World Cup in 1958, and the country went on to win the tournament four more times in 1962, 1970, 1994, and 2002.
Fast-forward to modern times, and football is still as important to Brazilian culture as it ever was, with millions of Brazilians playing and watching the sport at all levels. The country has some of the world’s most iconic football stadiums, and the Brazilian national team is still one of the most successful outfits in world football.
Reasons Why Brazilians Are Good at Football
Now let’s look at some of the main reasons why Brazil is so good at football. These include the culture of football in the country, the role of futsal in football development, their population and their footballing rivalries.
The Culture of Football in Brazil
Often referred to as “o País do Futebol” (“the country of football”), Brazil has a culture that is rich with football heritage. It is the most popular sociocultural activity across the country, with both youngsters and adults shaping their lives around watching and playing the sport.
Initially, football was a racist and elitist sport in Brazil. Following the abolishment of slavery, the sport gained significant popularity with people fighting the racial exclusion the country had experienced for many years.
The transition from Brazilian football being a sport for the white privileged to being accessible for anyone of any wealth or colour was hugely significant. Football was the vehicle that helped make positive social and culture changes in the country.
A clear indication of the unity that football brings to the nation is whenever a World Cup takes place. Fans take to the streets in their masses, giving the country a collective identity when cheering on their side.
The culture of football in Brazil is that significant that many believe political efforts are often made with football in mind. This can help politicians get the majority of Brazilians on side by incorporating the game that they love so dearly.
With football being so ingrained in Brazilian culture, it has helped Brazil become one of the global football powerhouses. If that many people care about the sport, more people want to play and watch it, and this subsequently means that they have the potential to develop more superstars.
The Role of Futsal in Developing Brazilian Football
Another reason why Brazil is so good at football is because of the role that futsal plays in the development of Brazilian players. You might be wondering, what is futsal? Futsal is a style of football that’s played between two teams of 5 players, with four outfield players and one goalkeeper.
The goal frames in Futsal are much smaller than the ones used in normal football matches, and the match is played over two halves that are 20 minutes each. Lots of skill moves are used in futsal matches, and it is mainly played indoors, but in countries like Brazil it is often played outdoors too.
But how has Futsal made Brazil so good at football? Brazilian legend Pelé once said, “Futsal makes you think fast and play fast. It makes everything easier when you later switch to football.” This has helped Brazil craft a brand of football that is so far away from the rest of the world. Brazilians will grace the football pitch with impressive flair and a creative footballing spirit that is referred to as “ginga” or “sway”.
Futsal has helped generations of Brazilian football players develop their dribbling, passing and shooting, making them all round creative players. When translated into traditional football matches, Brazilian players tend to stand out.
It’s not just Brazil who have made the most of futsal in their footballing development, either. Other South American countries including Argentina have enjoyed its benefits, with football GOAT Lionel Messi crediting futsal for a large part of his footballing development.
Watch an iconic advert from Joga TV featuring Eric Cantona that includes clips of Ronaldinho playing futsal as a child:
There is an argument that one of the reasons why Brazil is so good at football is because they have such a large population. Brazil is one of the top 10 most populated countries, with over 218 million people living there.
If you have a larger crop of players to choose from, and football is your national sport, the chances are you’re more likely to produce elite level players. Countries with populations larger than Brazil are China, India, United States, Indonesia, Pakistan and Nigeria, however none of these countries have football as deep-rooted in their culture as Brazil.
Brazil Football Rivalries
Although competitiveness in Brazil originates on the streets, it is translated into the several intense local derbies that take place in the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A. Here are some of the key derbies that takes place in Brazil:
- Fla-Flu (Flamengo vs Fluminense)
- The Paulista (Corinthians vs Palmeiras)
- The Grenal (Grêmio vs Internacional)
- Clássico dos Milhões aka “The Derby of Millions” (Flamengo vs Vasco da Gama)
Outside of Brazilian domestic football, rivalries run hot on the international stage, too. Whenever Brazil play against Argentina or Uruguay, you know that a battle is about to commence, and this is very much reflective of where Brazil has come from to establish its football status.
The Brazilian Style of Football
Brazil have created and crafted a unique style of football that is only applicable to themselves. The nation is renowned for playing an attractive and offensive style of football, which is often referred to as “jogo bonito” or the “beautiful game“.
What defines this style of play is creative flair, skilful dribbling and quick passing, and this creates an entertaining brand of football that has been appreciated by the whole world. Players such as Ronaldinho lit up matches with their flair and creativity, performing impressive skill moves such as the “flip-flap” on a regular basis.
To play this style of football, Brazilian players require high technical ability, trickery and improvisation on the football pitch.
Brazilian Football Legends
Now that we’ve explained some of the reasons why Brazil is good at football, let’s take a look at some of the stars that the country has produced over the years.
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