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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September 02, 2014
13:03Neymar sets sights on new cycle with Brazil
12:10Filipe Luis is looking forward to a new chance with Brazil
11:17Neymar praised by Zuniga ahead of friendly
11:02Filipe Luis: We need to recuperate identity
10:40Hulk injured for up to six weeks
09:30Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes wishes Sandro luck at Queens Park Rangers
09:00Sandro thanks Tottenham Hotspur fans following move to Queens Park Rangers
08:30Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp hails new signing Sandro
08:00New Queens Park Rangers midfielder Sandro looking forward to working with Harry Redknapp again
07:29Sandro completes transfer from Tottenham Hotspur to Queens Park Rangers
September 01, 2014
22:12Diego and Tardelli and Elias Say Brazil Must Move On
21:41Cruzeiro Hold Out on Monaco for Everton Ribeiro
21:13Robinho Happy to be Back in Brazil Squad
21:01Palmeiras Sack Ricardo Gareca as coach
20:34QPR Interested in Tottenham's Sandro
19:17Report: Marseille close in on a deal for Botafogo defender Dória
19:00Defender Bressan "wanted to stay" at Grêmio despite reported Queens Park Rangers interest
18:19Milan loan Brazil international Gabriel to Serie B side Carpi
18:03Brasileirão Round 18 summary: Erik hat-trick helps Goiás to much needed win over Atlético Paranaense
15:25Agent confirms talks between Parma and Torino over veteran forward Amauri
August 31, 2014
22:54Daniel Alves admits this season is "vital" for him
22:43Report: Lazio close in on deal for Botafogo defender Dória
22:16Josep Maria Bartomeu doesn't believe Douglas arrival with affect Daniel Alves
22:13Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu explains Douglas purchase
22:07Leeds United complete the signing of Cagliari loanee Adryan
August 30, 2014
23:15Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho disappointed with Everton treatment of Diego Costa
23:08Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho hails clinical Diego Costa
23:05Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp hails new Chelsea striker Diego Costa
22:54Udinese complete signing of São Paulo midfielder Lucas Evangelista
10:51Report: Udinese hold talks with Parma over forward Amauri
August 29, 2014
22:45Neto named in Fiorentina squad for Roma clash
22:34Report: Galatasaray favourites to sign São Paulo loanee Alexandre Pato
22:27Dunga expects Brazil to recover
22:22Dunga wants Santos Neymar
22:17Agent confirms Roma have offered a contract to free agent Nilmar
21:23Chelsea manager José Mourinho: Diego Costa is a big doubt for Everton clash
20:53Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Paulinho discusses his hectic past 18 months
20:42Tottenham Hotspur’s Paulinho hails win over AEL Limassol and discusses importance of first goal of the season
20:20Sandro admits Tottenham Hotspur’s Europa League victory was ‘comfortable’
20:13Paulinho and Sandro shine as Tottenham Hotspur progress in Europa League
August 28, 2014
21:40Dante discusses difficulty Bayern Munich will have trying to win Bundesliga and Champions League
21:08Dropped Dante believes Dunga is right man for Brazil
19:38Bayern Munich’s Dante: Neymar is only going to get better
19:19Report: Chelsea’s Diego Costa set for spell on sidelines
19:02Sandro is very ‘unlikely’ to leave Tottenham Hotspur
August 27, 2014
23:51New Barcelona signing Douglas admits he is yet to talk to the Brazilians already at the club
23:41Defender Douglas "very happy" to be at Barcelona
23:36Internazionale defender Juan Jesus insists Head Coach Walter Mazzarri is focused on Stjarnan
23:26Internazionale defender Juan Jesus determined not to underestimate Stjarnan
23:19Hellas Verona sign midfielder Gustavo Campanharo on loan from Bragantino
August 29, 2014
22:27Dunga expects Brazil to recover
August 20, 2014
16:56Interim Brazil Assistant Coach Mauro Silva believes Dunga is the right man to revive the Seleção
August 12, 2014
23:04Brazil Under-20 Head Coach Alexandre Gallo intrigued by World Cup tactical trends
23:00Selecao Under-20 Head Coach Alexandre Gallo believes it will be difficult for Brazil to collectively improve
18:03Brazilian flair to win European Fantasy League in 2014/15
August 11, 2014
23:19Under-20 Head Coach Alexandre Gallo compares Brazil with Germany
August 09, 2014
22:34Alexandre Gallo: Germany an example, but Brazilians don't have the same patience
August 08, 2014
22:47Brazil Under-20 Head Coach Alexandre Gallo hopes more attention will be paid to youth system
August 07, 2014
13:27Dunga takes Brazil back to the future
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
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
September 01, 2014
19:17Report: Marseille close in on a deal for Botafogo defender Dória
19:00Defender Bressan "wanted to stay" at Grêmio despite reported Queens Park Rangers interest
18:19Milan loan Brazil international Gabriel to Serie B side Carpi
18:03Brasileirão Round 18 summary: Erik hat-trick helps Goiás to much needed win over Atlético Paranaense
15:25Agent confirms talks between Parma and Torino over veteran forward Amauri
August 31, 2014
22:54Daniel Alves admits this season is "vital" for him
22:43Report: Lazio close in on deal for Botafogo defender Dória
22:16Josep Maria Bartomeu doesn't believe Douglas arrival with affect Daniel Alves
22:13Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu explains Douglas purchase
22:07Leeds United complete the signing of Cagliari loanee Adryan
August 30, 2014
23:15Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho disappointed with Everton treatment of Diego Costa
23:08Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho hails clinical Diego Costa
23:05Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp hails new Chelsea striker Diego Costa
22:54Udinese complete signing of São Paulo midfielder Lucas Evangelista
10:51Report: Udinese hold talks with Parma over forward Amauri
August 29, 2014
22:45Neto named in Fiorentina squad for Roma clash
22:34Report: Galatasaray favourites to sign São Paulo loanee Alexandre Pato
22:22Dunga wants Santos Neymar
22:17Agent confirms Roma have offered a contract to free agent Nilmar
August 27, 2014
23:51New Barcelona signing Douglas admits he is yet to talk to the Brazilians already at the club
23:41Defender Douglas "very happy" to be at Barcelona
23:36Internazionale defender Juan Jesus insists Head Coach Walter Mazzarri is focused on Stjarnan
23:26Internazionale defender Juan Jesus determined not to underestimate Stjarnan
August 26, 2014
22:46FC Zenit Head Coach Andre Villas Boas praises Hulk after Standard win
22:31Report: Free agent Ronaldinho in talks to join Palmeiras
22:23Marcelo: Cristiano Ronaldo always scores
22:13Palermo announce the signing of Santos full-back Emerson on loan
15:00Marcelo insists Real Madrid must improve after hard-fought Cordoba win
August 25, 2014
22:40Report: Arsenal ready to make bid for VfL Wolfsburg midfielder Luiz Gustavo
22:32Report: Napoli to push for Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Sandro even if they lose to Athletic Bilbao
22:26Cruzeiro midfielder Lucas Silva happy to leave his future in the hands of his agents
22:23Cruzeiro midfielder Lucas Silva hoping for move to Europe
August 24, 2014
22:28Report: Barcelona set to close deal for Sao Paulo defender Douglas
15:39Report: Fred, Jô and Leandro Damião considered by Milan as replacements for Liverpool-bound Mario Balotelli
15:00Santos Head Coach Oswaldo Oliveira denies Robinho is injured
11:45Report: Santos defender Emerson has medical ahead of loan switch to Palermo
August 23, 2014
22:52Mauro Silva impressed with tactical adjustments at this summer's World Cup
22:46Former Brazil international Mauro Silva wants the Brasileirão to be improved
22:39Report: Napoli push for Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Sandro
22:32Report: Napoli close in on deal for Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva
22:23Fiorentina Head Coach Vincenzo Montella confirms desire for new midfielder amid links to Shakhtar Donetsk's Fernando
August 22, 2014
23:18Former Brazil international Sócrates blamed politics for short stint in Serie A with Fiorentina
23:06Agent of Cruzeiro midfielder Lucas Silva confirms contact with Internazionale and Manchester United
22:48Report: Cagliari have €1.5 million for Gremio defender Werley rejected
22:38Adryan still committed to Cagliari despite Leeds United links
10:15Report Shakhtar Donetsk forward Luiz Adriano under consideration as Juventus target new forward
August 20, 2014
21:55Report: West Ham United step up interest in Corinthians forward Paolo Guerrero with loan enquiry
18:36Report: Premier League trio plus Atlético de Madrid interested in Cruzeiro midfielder Lucas Silva
14:17Report: Roma to target Shakhtar Donetsk forward Luiz Adriano if Mattia Destro is sold
12:57Report: Internazionale hold talks over F.C. Nordsjælland forward Emiliano Marcondes
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