Tim Vickery Column: The answer and the change occuring in Brazil ahead of the World Cup

For Tim Vickery, what happens with the protest movement this summer will help forge a new Brazil - Action Images
This website might be called Sertanejo-foot. It would be an awkward name, but not inappropriate.

Sertanejo – the local country music – is certainly more popular in Brazil than samba.  Surveys reveal that it is the type of music most played on Brazilian radio stations.  But there is no space for this in the international perception of Brazil.  Some of the contestants in the local version of ‘Big Brother’ – a ratings sensation in Brazil for almost a decade and a half – have played it up for all it is worth, donning cowboy hats in their attempt to project a down to earth, rustic and folksy image.  One of them even rode that horse all the way to the millionaire first prize.

All of this would come as a huge shock to the millions abroad who might imagine that Brazil in its entirety, from the luscious sands of Leblon to the giant favela of Rocinha, can be found in the South Zone of Rio de Janeiro.

There is much more to the story, both good and bad – and this year, as never before, the world will have the chance to discover this giant country – either as tourists and fans coming over to football’s big party, or viewers of the many TV shows on Brazil that will fill up time and whet the appetite before the tournament gets underway.

One of the things that might become apparent is the extent to which the country has been mythologised, both internally and externally.  For many foreigners – the French seem to have a specific weakness for this line of approach – Brazil represents the exotic, the wild, the exuberant.  Samba fits nicely into this perception.  The banality of country music does not.

But Brazil has also been relentlessly mythologised from the inside, for obvious reasons.  First, this is a young country – not just in the sense of being ‘discovered’ by the Europeans little more than 500 years ago, but also in the fact that, as DNA research is making increasingly clear, its population was transformed by large scale late immigration from Europe and the Middle East in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

This, then, was a country in need of a national identity.  Indeed, perhaps the principal explanation for the importance of football in Brazilian life is that through the World Cup their nation is making its mark on the planet, so often as winners.

But also this national identity had to be forged in a society of massive inequality.  Therein lies the importance of samba to the national image.  The relatively benign tropical fascism of the Getulio Vargas regime in the 1930s and 40s transformed samba into a national soundtrack – after first censoring its content.

As samba developed in Rio, then the capital, in the early decades of the twentieth century, the musicians were often persecuted.  The Vargas regime put a stop to that.  They became national icons (it is sadly interesting that the two moments when black Brazilians have been most central to the national identity have coincided with dictatorial regimes – the samba musicians with Vargas, and Pele with the military dictatorship in the late 60s).  But, to get played on the powerful, glamorous and important new medium of radio, their songs started extolling the virtues of an orderly life.  The government began subsidising the parade of the samba schools in Rio’s Carnaval – after first ensuring that the theme had to be a celebration of Brazil.  The idea of Brazil as a land of happiness was a conscious creation of- and clearly interesting to - an authoritarian regime.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the protest movement that flared up last June and July was the discontent that many of those involved expressed for the myths of their nationhood.  Members of Brazil’s new middle class had been able to travel abroad for the first time.  Some of them had been irritated by the instant identification of Brazil with football and carnival.  Indeed, this feeling would seem to explain some of the ferocity demonstrated against public spending on football tournaments.  In part, perhaps, it was a psychological desire on the part of the protestors to distance themselves from myths that have been spun around them.  We would seem to be dealing with a generation which is anxious to create its own identity.

Of course the protest movement contained some excesses, and also worrying fascistic trends whereby political parties per se were seen as the enemy.  How can there be a democracy without the organisation of competing ideas?  ‘My party is Brazil’ – a slogan that cropped up during the protests – is not an answer.

But on balance, the process was not only healthy, it was inspirational.  By taking to the streets such numbers Brazilians confounded a myth they had held about themselves – that they are a passive people, easily duped into tolerating arrogant and inept government.

To be in Brazil during the Confederations Cup was to watch a country changing in front of our own eyes.  The Brazil of May 2013 is not coming back.  Exactly where we are heading is not yet clear.  What happens with the protest movement this June and July will help forge a new Brazil – which means that fans coming over for the World Cup are in for an unforgettable experience.

We all hope it will be a wonderful tournament – football needs a great World Cup.  And off the pitch there should be an international party, plus an internal dynamic of progress that is hard to predict.  Visitors to Brazil will be witnesses to history – and may even go home with a few sertanejo CDs.

 





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August 01, 2014
20:22Benfica play down rumours of a deal for Botafogo goalkeeper Jefferson
19:59Ronaldinho will be missed but Atlético-MG have other players than can step up, according to Jô
19:42Hernane may be on his way out of Flamengo
19:33Dunga denies having a black list and would consider calling up Júlio César and Fred to the national squad
19:18Frank Leboeuf: Paris Saint-Germain defender Thiago Silva has an attitude problem
18:40Sporting Kansas City loanee Igor Julião questions Brazil infrastructure and hails United States system
17:16Report: Barcelona defender Daniel Alves unlikely to see out the final year of his contract
15:57Report: Corinthians forward Paolo Guerrero tempted by prospect of Premier League move
14:59Internazionale defender Dodô admits facing former club Roma in the 2014 Guinness International Champions Cup will be "a bit weird"
14:19Internazionale defender Dodô compares new Head Coach Walter Mazzari with Roma trainer Rudi Garcia
08:30Santos head coach confident they can overturn Copa do Brasil first leg loss to Londrina
08:17David Luiz not a defender, claims former World Cup winner Leboeuf
07:57Rafinha: Head coach Luis Enrique will be a success at Barcelona
07:53Cannavaro doesn't think Messi, Suarez and Neymar can work together at Barcelona
07:42Neymar targets Gamper Trophy comeback for Barcelona
July 31, 2014
23:00Bastia confirm the signing of Brazilian forward Brandao
22:54Fiorentina forward Giuseppe Rossi disappointed with Palmeiras defeat
22:49Juventus Sporting Director Giuseppe Marotta confirms he is set to sign Hellas Verona midfielder Romulo
22:45Flamengo President Eduardo Bandeira de Mello unsure on move for Milan forward Robinho
22:41Corinthians owned forward Alexandre Pato admits he has received offers but is happy to stay on loan at Sao Paulo
22:37Agent confirms Hellas Verona midfielder Romulo will join Juventus on Friday
18:53Ronaldinho close to joining New York Red Bulls
18:37Palmeiras beat Fiorentina to win the Copa Euroamericana
17:44Dunga directs more criticism at Barcelona and Brazil star Neymar
17:31Carlos Alberto Parreira dismisses Dunga criticism
17:10Grêmio head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari admits that he needs a hug
17:01Barcelona star Neymar “almost 100%”
16:50Barcelona star Neymar mobbed as he arrives in Japan
July 30, 2014
17:43Torino forward Barreto not worried about Fabio Quagliarella arrival and looking forward to IF Brommapojkarna challenge
14:56Zlatan Ibrahimović expects David Luiz to settle quickly and succeed at Paris Saint-Germain
13:42Ronaldinho's agent and brother Roberto de Assis confirms his new club will be announced on Wednesday
12:21Report: Chelsea still pushing for Atlético de Madrid defender Miranda
11:12Report: Barcelona consider renewed approach for Paris Saint-Germain defender Marquinhos
09:51Report: Robinho's future remains uncertain as Milan wait for an offer from the UAE
08:56Elche confirm the signing of forward Jonathas on a two-year loan deal from Pescara
08:04Corinthians set to move for striker Angel Romero's twin Oscar
07:50Fluminense refute rumours of moves for Ronaldinho and Wellington Nem
07:40PSG's David Luiz may be dropped for Dunga's first Brazil squad
07:21Diego Costa applauded by new Chelsea colleague Drogba
07:11Ronaldinho posts video online thanking Atletico Mineiro for the memories
06:59Neymar's second Barcelona season will be easier, says former player
06:46Ronaldinho won't move to Boca Juniors, say Argentine side
July 29, 2014
19:41Arena Amazônia hopeful of hosting Serie A games
18:53Grêmio appoint Luiz Felipe Scolari as new manager
18:19QPR interested in former Barcelona and AC Milan star Ronaldinho
17:15Grêmio striker Barcos praises Luiz Felipe Scolari
16:48Grêmio want Argentina boss Alejandro Sabella
16:31Cruzeiro defender Dedé on Juventus radar
14:35Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Sandro set to depart White Hart Lane?
14:09Reports in Italy suggest Lazio looking to sign Marseille defender Lucas Mendes
July 23, 2014
17:02Napoli goalkeeper Rafael Cabral hoping for Seleção return under Dunga
July 19, 2014
23:19Gerard Houllier explains why Lionel Messi was awarded the Golden Ball
23:13Neymar believes Brazil can learn from Germany and Spain
23:07Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli welcomes introduction of vanishing spray into Serie A after World Cup success
July 14, 2014
23:57FIFA President Sepp Blatter denies involvement in selection of Lionel Messi as Golden Ball winner
23:48FIFA Secretary-General Jérôme Valcke expects Russia and Qatar World Cups to match Brazil
23:13Maicon philosophical over Brazil World Cup disappointment
July 13, 2014
23:44Fred hopes Fluminense will give him time off after World Cup disappointment
23:41Fred confirms he has retired from international football
09:54Sambafoot Sunday: Brazil's 2014 World Cup Fallout: New Failures
July 12, 2014
23:51Joachim Low: Germany can be the first European nation to win in Latin America
23:48Dunga: Germany played as a unit
23:44Thiago Silva left frustrated by Netherlands defeat
23:35Oscar has "horrible feeling" after Netherlands defeat
July 11, 2014
22:50Germany forward Thomas Muller looking forward to playing in the Maracana
July 09, 2014
23:55Neymar agent Wagner Ribeiro makes astonishing attack of Luiz Felipe Scolari
23:51Brazil Head Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari insists Germany defeat "not all bad"
23:48Cafu refused entry to Brazil dressing room after Germany defeat
15:30Tim Vickery Column: A look at Brazil’s capitulation against Germany and what now for Luiz Felipe Scolari
July 08, 2014
23:59Luiz Felipe Scolari: “Who is responsible for this result? I am, it’s me”
23:55Germany forward Miroslav Klose "truly happy" to break Ronaldo's World Cup scoring record
23:50Julio Cesar struggles to comprehend Brazil defeat
23:39Brazil 1-7 Germany: Ruthless Germany tear Seleção apart to secure historic semi-final victory
23:29Brazil 1-7 Germany: Player ratings
20:10Brazil v Germany: line-ups
July 07, 2014
22:25Brazil legend Amarildo believes Neymar absence could work to the Selecao's advantage against Germany
22:22Germany Head Coach Joachim Low wary of "robust" Brazil
22:05Maicon disappointed with refereeing on Neymar challenge
July 06, 2014
09:25Sambafoot Sunday: Ney Problem - Can Brazil Cope Without Neymar?
July 05, 2014
23:45Argentina forward Lionel Messi aiming for the World Cup final
23:30Medic insists vertebra injury will not compromise Neymar’s career
July 04, 2014
23:59Thiago Silva defends emotional Brazil
23:55James Rodriguez: David Luiz told me I was a good player
23:50David Luiz looks forward to "classic" encounter with Germany
23:47David Luiz: Colombia would have gone further if they “hadn't come up against Brazil”
15:34Luiz Felipe Scolari feels Brazil’s lack of a rivalry with Colombia will allow his players to be “more at ease'
July 03, 2014
18:58Brazil v Colombia – Preview
July 02, 2014
22:14Neymar confirms he is fit to face Colombia
22:10Colombia Head Coach Jose Pekerman confident his side can upset Brazil
22:06Neymar insists he can fit in any formation amid rumours that Luiz Felipe Scolari will switch to a 3-5-2 against Colombia
22:02Neymar happy for Brazil to win 1-0 against Colombia
July 01, 2014
23:24Fernandinho confident Brazil can handle expectations
June 30, 2014
16:29Brazil Head Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari unsure whether Neymar will be fit to face Colombia
16:24Brazil Head Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari compares Neymar to Cristiano Ronaldo
June 29, 2014
23:11Diego Maradona: "Chile deserved to go through"
23:00Colombia playmaker James Rodriguez respectful of Brazil
21:23Colombia playmaker James Rodriguez hopeful of Brazil victory
19:21Diego Maradona excited by Colombia and James Rodriguez
June 28, 2014
21:04Brazil vs. Chile: Player ratings
16:14Brazil vs Chile: Line up
June 26, 2014
14:33Report: Flamengo one of eight clubs who have enquired about loaning Internazionale midfielder Rubén Botta
June 16, 2014
11:35Brazil Head Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari backs Portugal to recovery from heavy Germany defeat
June 09, 2014
23:18Italy forward Lorenzo Insigne insists Italy’s poor defending in victory against Fluminense is “not important”
23:12Italy forward Ciro Immobile “excited” with hat-trick against Fluminense
22:56Italy Head Coach Cesare Prandelli pleased with Fluminense victory
22:52Italy Head Coach Cesare Prandelli delighted with Brazilian support
June 07, 2014
23:32Italy line up confirmed for Fluminense friendly
May 19, 2014
22:13Portugal Manager Paulo Bento names his 23-man 2014 FIFA World Cup squad
May 18, 2014
19:09Sambafoot Sunday: Botafogo's Shaky Start to 2014
April 13, 2014
08:34Sambafoot Sunday: Brazilian Clubs' Libertadores Numbers Game
April 06, 2014
09:20Sambafoot Sunday: Atlético Mineiro's Anelka Interest Should be the Norm
February 14, 2014
12:23Shakhtar Donetsk: President decided to support Maicon’s family
February 09, 2014
09:25Sambafoot Sunday: Where’s Wallyson? Botafogo find their new hero post-Seedorf
January 26, 2014
10:09Sambafoot Sunday: Cruciate curse affects Seleção hopes of three midfielders
December 01, 2013
13:36Sambafoot Sunday: Could Éverton Ribeiro Crack Europe?
November 25, 2013
11:39Brasileirão Week 36 round up: Vasco shock champions to stay in contention while defeat leaves Ponte Preta on the brink
November 24, 2013
10:17Sambafoot Sunday: Palmeiras Promoted with Chapecoense in Tow
November 17, 2013
12:00Palmeiras secure Brasileirão Série B title with 3-0 win against Boa Esporte
November 12, 2013
08:42Relegation threatened Fluminense sack head coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo
November 10, 2013
12:59Sambafoot Sunday: Atlético Paranaense's hurricane season
November 09, 2013
10:05Drummer angers Flamengo fans
November 04, 2013
13:04Brasileirão week 32 round-up: Big win for Vasco as in-form Goiás maintain top four push
November 03, 2013
17:31Sambafoot Sunday: Surprise Packages in the 2013 Brasileirão
October 28, 2013
11:31Brasileirão Week 31 round up: Vital win for Ponte Preta while Goiás maintain top four push
October 21, 2013
13:21Olympique Marseille without defender Lucas Mendes for Napoli fixture
12:12Injury rules Bayern Munich defender Dante out of Viktoria Plzeň tie
October 20, 2013
23:50São Paulo president Juvenal Juvêncio admits interest in Lucas Moura loan return
October 18, 2013
11:47Diego Maradona dispute’s Pelé’s FIFA recognition
09:04Del Bosque: Costa approach no insult to current strikers
October 17, 2013
21:43Hard work is paying off insists Bayern Munich defender Rafinha
13:17Rodrigo Lasmar: Ronaldinho on track to be fit for the Club World Cup
October 16, 2013
19:53Report: Tottenham Hotspur set to offer Paulinho extended deal
09:12Report: São Paulo could terminate Lúcio’s contract if injury concerns prevail
October 13, 2013
18:32Brasileirão: Grêmio slip up as Vitoria and Santos grab victories
14:49Vanderlei Luxemburgo: ‘Simulation part of football’
October 09, 2013
20:37Mineiro learn Club World Cup fate
October 06, 2013
22:39Oswaldo de Oliveira in hospital after Botafogo defeat
11:55Sambafoot Sunday: Cruzeiro cruising at the top of the Brasileirão
October 04, 2013
23:52Internacional manager Dunga sacked
September 14, 2013
14:29Guerrero: Corinthians can still be champions
September 11, 2013
20:49Roberto Carlos: Anzhi could collapse
14:57Exeter City play down Brazil fears
September 07, 2013
14:12Atlético Madrid's Filipe Luis: Barca-Madrid dominance an injustice
September 06, 2013
19:04Santos announce tour of South East Asia
18:42São Paulo slump to defeat as Rogerio Ceni misses penalty
September 05, 2013
19:17Cruzeiro go four points clear after defeating Bahia
18:43Romário and Maradona fight against CONMEBOL corruption
September 03, 2013
21:29Marcelo Mattos says Botafogo will overcome difficulties
20:54Réver believes Atlético Mineiro can challenge for Brazilian title
September 02, 2013
23:21São Paulo to honour Brazil legend Leonidas da Silva
August 01, 2014
18:40Sporting Kansas City loanee Igor Julião questions Brazil infrastructure and hails United States system
17:16Report: Barcelona defender Daniel Alves unlikely to see out the final year of his contract
15:57Report: Corinthians forward Paolo Guerrero tempted by prospect of Premier League move
14:59Internazionale defender Dodô admits facing former club Roma in the 2014 Guinness International Champions Cup will be "a bit weird"
14:19Internazionale defender Dodô compares new Head Coach Walter Mazzari with Roma trainer Rudi Garcia
July 31, 2014
23:00Bastia confirm the signing of Brazilian forward Brandao
22:54Fiorentina forward Giuseppe Rossi disappointed with Palmeiras defeat
22:49Juventus Sporting Director Giuseppe Marotta confirms he is set to sign Hellas Verona midfielder Romulo
22:45Flamengo President Eduardo Bandeira de Mello unsure on move for Milan forward Robinho
22:41Corinthians owned forward Alexandre Pato admits he has received offers but is happy to stay on loan at Sao Paulo
22:37Agent confirms Hellas Verona midfielder Romulo will join Juventus on Friday
July 30, 2014
17:43Torino forward Barreto not worried about Fabio Quagliarella arrival and looking forward to IF Brommapojkarna challenge
14:56Zlatan Ibrahimović expects David Luiz to settle quickly and succeed at Paris Saint-Germain
13:42Ronaldinho's agent and brother Roberto de Assis confirms his new club will be announced on Wednesday
12:21Report: Chelsea still pushing for Atlético de Madrid defender Miranda
11:12Report: Barcelona consider renewed approach for Paris Saint-Germain defender Marquinhos
09:51Report: Robinho's future remains uncertain as Milan wait for an offer from the UAE
08:56Elche confirm the signing of forward Jonathas on a two-year loan deal from Pescara
July 28, 2014
18:06Report: Beşiktaş ready to bid €4 million for in demand Milan forward Robinho
15:14Forwards Luan and Wanderley excited to be working with Head Coach Paulo Bonamigo at Sharjah SC
13:33Report: Barcelona willing to let defender Daniel Alves leave for cut price fee
11:52Manchester United confirm defender Rafael will leave United States tour after suffering a groin injury
10:112014 Brasileirão Round 12 summary: Late Alex strike earns Coritiba dramatic win and Flamengo secure vital derby victory
July 27, 2014
20:18Chelsea manager José Mourinho expects Diego Costa to adapt to the Premier League
16:51Representative suggests Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fernando could join Fiorentina
14:30Sambafoot Sunday: Brazilian Soccer - Can Kaká Bring Magic to Orlando City?
14:01Hellas Verona Sporting Director Sean Sogliano confirms negotiations with Juventus for midfielder Rômulo are at an "advanced stage"
12:31Hellas Verona Head Coach Andrea Mandorlini admits Juventus move would be a "chance of a lifetime" for midfielder Rômulo
July 26, 2014
22:33Report: Flamengo putting a plan in place to sign Robinho from Milan
13:04Hellas Verona confirm the signing of Nenê on a free transfer from Cagliari
July 25, 2014
22:58Report: Juventus close in on deal for Hellas Verona midfielder Romulo
18:33Napoli midfielder Jorginho admits he would "immediately accept" a call up to the Italy national team
15:20Report: Botafogo set to sign Shandong Luneng Taishan teenager Tang Shi after successful trial
12:20Report: Fiorentina make loan offer for Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Fernando
10:10Report: Juventus hold negotiations with Hellas Verona for midfielder Rômulo
08:44Report: Palermo to target Sampdoria forward Éder
July 23, 2014
21:19Flamengo reappoint Vanderlei Luxemburgo as Head Coach following Ney Franco sacking
19:42Santos Vice-President Odílio Rodrigues Filho admits Robinho deal will be "a difficult operation"
15:17Report: Werder Bremen set to sign Internacional defender Cláudio Winck
13:43President Enrique Cerezo believes Atlético de Madrid can cope with Diego Costa and Filipe Luís sales and refutes Miranda rumours
10:07Report: Roma in negotiations with São Paulo to re-sign defender Rafael Tolói
July 22, 2014
23:27Report: Cruzeiro set to hold talks with Milan over Robinho
23:16Former Internacional forward Ignacio Scocco set for Newell's Old Boys return
23:11Agent confirms Robinho offers amid interest from Cruzeiro and Orlando City
14:36Al-Wasl team manager Majed Obaidallah confirms loan signing of Fábio Lima from Atlético Goianiense
12:44Report: Juventus and Roma could move for Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Douglas Costa following refusal to return to Ukraine
July 21, 2014
23:53Report: Barcelona to target São Paulo defender Rodrigo Caio
23:47La Liga newcomers Córdoba confirm the loan signing of forward Ryder Matos from Fiorentina
23:42Serie B newcomers Perugia sign veteran midfielder Rodrigo Taddei on a free transfer from Roma
23:352014 Brasileirão Round 11 summary: Internacional thump struggling Flamengo
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