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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November 01, 2014
12:44Doria unconcerned by Marseille situation
October 31, 2014
18:44Porto midfielder Casemiro eager to impress after Brazil recall
18:35Chelsea manager José Mourinho admits he is powerless to stop Diego Costa playing for Spain
18:25Brazil Olympic Head Coach Alexandre Gallo hints that he will call up Barcelona forward Neymar for Rio 2016
18:15Orlando City SC manager Adrian Heath praises role of owner Flavio Augusto da Silva in securing Kaká signing
18:05Orlando City SC manager Adrian Heath praises Designated Player Kaká
13:42Liverpool have the squad to cope - Lucas Leiva
13:30'Amazing' Dunga has started well - Parreira
12:20Neymar laughs off new girlfriend reports
11:58Pato not ready to be considered for Sao Paulo - Doctor
11:20Let's win it - Rogerio Ceni calls for Sao Paulo to win Copa Sudamericana
October 30, 2014
23:55Brazilian Cup Round-up: Flamengo strike late to seal first leg advantage
23:22Dodo puts in strong display as Internazionale win
22:50Liverpool's Coutinho shares romantic moment
18:22Atlético de Madrid defender Diego Godín disappointed Miranda, Filipe Luís and Diego Costa were overlooked at LFP awards
17:34Forward Óscar Muñoz unhappy with defender Marcelo's celebration after scoring in Real Madrid's 4-1 Copa del Rey victory over Cornellà
17:10Milan defender Alex accepts Cagliari draw and looks ahead to Sunday's tie against Palermo
17:01Milan defender Alex confident of top three challenge
12:22Fernandinho has night to forget as Manchester City are dumped out of League Cup
12:11Marcelo on scoresheet as Real Madrid cruise past Cornella
11:54We won't play to defend first-leg lead vows Luxemburgo
11:14Chicao warns Flamengo against complacency after first-leg semi-final win
10:38Report: Arsenal line up January move for Romulo
October 29, 2014
23:15Brazilian Cup Preview: Cruzeiro face Santos
22:52Bolívar stresses importance of coach Mancini to Botafogo
21:17Portuguesa relegated after another defeat
20:24Costa and Ramires set to return for Chelsea
18:58Internazionale midfielder Hernanes wary of Sampdoria threat and refuses to be compared to Siniša Mihajlović
18:49Elano praises Chennaiyin FC fans and hails teams togetherness
18:43Elano pleased to assist team-mates Jeje Lalpekhlua and Stiven Mendoza in Chennaiyin FC's 5-1 win over Mumbai City FC.
16:57FIFA President Sepp Blatter claims Russia's 2018 World Cup preparations are "considerably ahead of schedule" compared to Brazil
14:52Neymar and Messi set to miss game Espanyol
13:18"We don't talk about the 7-1 anymore in the dressing room"
12:52Santos sign deal with Huawei from China
12:24Neymar gains 5lbs of muscle to help him succeed at Barcelona
11:51Assist King Michel Bastos just happy to contribute to Sao Paulo
11:15Lyon legend Juninho backs Doria for Marseille success
10:42Khaznadar's Santos bid compromised by Neymar friendship - Leite
10:07Chelsea reportedly line up move for Cruzeiro's Lucas Silva
00:05Bielsa explains Doria absence
October 28, 2014
22:39Le Havre rule out Adriano deal
22:18Sporting eye Grêmio defender Geromel
19:36Cavalieri set to leave Fluminense after contract leak
18:54Assistant Manager Vivek Nagul insists Chennayin FC are not solely reliant on Brazilian midfielder Elano
18:36Milan defender Alex: “PSG wanted to sign a younger player than me"
18:23Defender Alex admits he misses Paris but has no regrets over Milan move
18:15Hernanes confident Internazionale will be develop their own style
18:10Hernanes hails Internazionale owner Erick Thohir and criticises Italian press
14:58Barcelona coach Luis Enrique defends Douglas from critics
14:16Rafinha gets award at FC Barcelona
October 29, 2014
16:57FIFA President Sepp Blatter claims Russia's 2018 World Cup preparations are "considerably ahead of schedule" compared to Brazil
October 24, 2014
14:13Kaká confident he can help Brazil over the short-term
October 23, 2014
23:14Head Coach Dunga refuses to confirm whether Neymar or Thiago Silva will captain Brazil
23:10Brazil Head Coach Dunga hopes Shakhtar Donetsk forward Luiz Adriano can help "create an alternative approach"
October 21, 2014
21:161994 World Cup winning Head Coach Carlos Alberto Perreira believes Brazil must regain their identity
October 20, 2014
23:09 José Mourinho praises Dunga despite frustration over lack of communication with international managers
October 18, 2014
21:55Carlos Alberto Parreira: Dunga's "been doing a good job"
October 16, 2014
17:18Dunga’s Most Important Players
October 15, 2014
16:24Santos forward Robinho: Brazil want to "win the World Cup in Russia"
12:26Brazil forward Neymar reveals Head Coach Dunga's advice after 4-0 friendly win over Japan
October 14, 2014
22:43CSKA Moscow defender Mário Fernandes hopes he "pleased Dunga" with Brazil debut
22:38Brazil goalkeeper Jefferson pleased late save against Japan kept clean sheet run intact
22:32Brazil goalkeeper Jefferson: "It is good to see Dunga’s philosophy is working for us"
18:09Neymar admits four goal haul against Japan "gives me goosebumps"
18:03Neymar not concerned about Brazil goal tally
13:59Brazil destroy Japan thanks to a fantastic Neymar
08:46Brazil-Japan (National Stadium, Singapore): Preview
October 13, 2014
15:57Internazionale defender Yuto Nagatomo insists Japan must play as a team against Brazil
15:52Japan Head Coach Javier Aguirre "relaxed" ahead of Brazil friendly
15:45Brazil team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar confirms David Luiz is a doubt for Japan friendly
15:41Mainz 05 forward Shinji Okazaki insists Japan must be clinical if they are to get a result from Brazil friendly
October 12, 2014
22:38Neymar unconcerned with physical approach during Brazil's 2-0 win over Argentian
22:34Brazil Head Coach Dunga insists Argentina win "gives huge confidence to the players"
13:14Brazil goalkeeper Jefferson: “I have studied the way Lionel Messi takes penalties"
13:09Atlético Mineiro Diego Tardelli admits its "a unique feeling" to score for Brazil after Argentina brace
11:10Brazil Head Coach Dunga questions appointment of referee Fan Qi for Argentina friendly
October 11, 2014
17:29Argentina 0-2 Brazil [Superclásico de las Américas, National Stadium]: Player ratings
16:13Argentina 0-2 Brazil [Superclásico de las Américas, National Stadium]: Diego Tardelli brace earns Seleção prestigious friendly victory
12:08Argentina 0-2 Brazil [Superclásico de las Américas, National Stadium]: Minute by minute
11:59Brazil Head Coach Dunga concerned about effects of Beijing smog on Superclásico de las Américas against Argentina
October 10, 2014
22:38Neymar hails Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi ahead of 2014 Superclásico de las Américas
16:182014 Superclásico de las Américas: Argentina vs. Brazil preview
October 09, 2014
22:50Danilo and Elias expected to start for Brazil in Saturday's 2014 Superclásico de las Américas against Argentina
22:45Brazil Olympic squad line up announced for Bolivia friendly
22:35Corinthians defender Gil believes Seleção team-mate Neymar is better than Lionel Messi
22:13Sambafoot is recruiting!
20:55Japan recall Kagawa for Brazil clash
October 08, 2014
12:11Sebastian Coe doubts a men's Great British football team will compete at 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro
October 07, 2014
23:28CBF announce Brazil friendlies against Austria and Turkey in November
23:09Report: Brazil Head Coach Dunga monitoring Guangzhou Evergrande forward Elkeson
22:45Paris Saint-Germain defender Maxwell hints this could be his last season
October 06, 2014
16:34Kaká: “I see A Seleção Brasileira as a reward"
12:16Kaká wants Brazil to follow Germany model
October 03, 2014
22:03Internazionale defender Juan Jesus pleased with Brazil recall
21:58Internazionale defender Juan Jesus latest player to be brought into Brazil squad following injury to Marquinhos
17:26São Paulo executive Ataide Gil disappointed to lose Kaká to Brazil
17:12Grêmio goalkeeper Marcelo Grohe brought into Brazil squad for Argentina and Japan friendlies
October 01, 2014
15:54Japan squad named for friendlies against Brazil and Jamaica
September 30, 2014
08:34Brazil drawn in Group B alongside holders Colombia for 2015 U-20 South American Championship
September 24, 2014
22:13Brazilian Football Confederation President José Maria Marin wants Germany rematch
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
October 31, 2014
18:44Porto midfielder Casemiro eager to impress after Brazil recall
18:35Chelsea manager José Mourinho admits he is powerless to stop Diego Costa playing for Spain
18:25Brazil Olympic Head Coach Alexandre Gallo hints that he will call up Barcelona forward Neymar for Rio 2016
18:15Orlando City SC manager Adrian Heath praises role of owner Flavio Augusto da Silva in securing Kaká signing
18:05Orlando City SC manager Adrian Heath praises Designated Player Kaká
October 30, 2014
23:55Brazilian Cup Round-up: Flamengo strike late to seal first leg advantage
23:22Dodo puts in strong display as Internazionale win
22:50Liverpool's Coutinho shares romantic moment
18:22Atlético de Madrid defender Diego Godín disappointed Miranda, Filipe Luís and Diego Costa were overlooked at LFP awards
17:34Forward Óscar Muñoz unhappy with defender Marcelo's celebration after scoring in Real Madrid's 4-1 Copa del Rey victory over Cornellà
17:10Milan defender Alex accepts Cagliari draw and looks ahead to Sunday's tie against Palermo
17:01Milan defender Alex confident of top three challenge
October 29, 2014
23:15Brazilian Cup Preview: Cruzeiro face Santos
22:52Bolívar stresses importance of coach Mancini to Botafogo
21:17Portuguesa relegated after another defeat
20:24Costa and Ramires set to return for Chelsea
18:58Internazionale midfielder Hernanes wary of Sampdoria threat and refuses to be compared to Siniša Mihajlović
18:49Elano praises Chennaiyin FC fans and hails teams togetherness
18:43Elano pleased to assist team-mates Jeje Lalpekhlua and Stiven Mendoza in Chennaiyin FC's 5-1 win over Mumbai City FC.
00:05Bielsa explains Doria absence
October 28, 2014
22:39Le Havre rule out Adriano deal
22:18Sporting eye Grêmio defender Geromel
19:36Cavalieri set to leave Fluminense after contract leak
18:54Assistant Manager Vivek Nagul insists Chennayin FC are not solely reliant on Brazilian midfielder Elano
18:36Milan defender Alex: “PSG wanted to sign a younger player than me"
18:23Defender Alex admits he misses Paris but has no regrets over Milan move
18:15Hernanes confident Internazionale will be develop their own style
18:10Hernanes hails Internazionale owner Erick Thohir and criticises Italian press
October 27, 2014
23:59FC Goa manager Zico refuses to blame defeat on the absence of Pires
23:31Dante voted best defender in Germany for the third time
22:25Bernard shines as Shakhtar cruise through
21:04Fabio Capello: Neymar attitude 'very annoying'
18:40FC Goa manager Zico disappointed with lack of end product following 2-0 defeat to FC Pune City
18:14Report: Genoa ahead of Lazio, Napoli and Sassuolo in race to sign Corinthians defender Gil
15:48Report: Milan set to target Fluminense defender Marlon
15:37Marcelo pleased with his improved fitness and hopes Real Madrid can keep up their good form
15:29Marcelo wants Real Madrid to enjoy El Clásico victory over Barcelona
October 25, 2014
23:01Filipe Luís does not believe his Chelsea team-mates need "special advice" to cope with Manchester United forward Radamel Falcao
22:53Chelsea defender Filipe Luís hails former team-mate Radamel Falcao ahead of Manchester United clash
15:50FC Goa manager Zico claims midfielder Robert Pirès was punched in the face by Atlético de Kolkata Head Coach Antonio López
15:34Mumbai City manager Peter Reid pleased midfielder André Moritz managed 45 minutes in 2-0 defeat to NorthEast United
15:21Lucas Leiva admits he is open to Liverpool exit and confirms there was contact with Napoli over the summer
October 24, 2014
15:17FC Goa manager Zico unhappy with Atlético de Kolkata defeat
13:06Assistant Toni Grande admits "it was a relief" when Diego Costa finally scored for Spain
12:54Report: Juventus set to target Cruzeiro midfielder Everton Ribeiro in January
October 23, 2014
23:25Report: Milan join race for Cruzeiro midfielder Lucas Silva
17:22Atlético de Madrid defender Guilherme Siqueira hails team-mate Koke after role in Malmö FF victory
15:44Head Coach Dunga names three debutants in Brazil squad to face Turkey and Austria next month
October 22, 2014
22:51Mário Fernandes believes CSKA Moscow's comeback against Manchester City has kept them in the Champions League
17:54David Luiz: “In every game we need to improve"
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