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.

 



Latest articles

Shakhtar Donetsk forward Luiz Adriano enjoys record breaking night in the Champions League

Report: Real Madrid target to Bayern Munich's David Alaba if Marcelo leaves next summer

1994 World Cup winning Head Coach Carlos Alberto Perreira believes Brazil must regain their identity

Neymar admits he now feels more settled at Barcelona

Former Santos President Luis Alvaro de Oliveira claims Neymar's father received €3 million from Barcelona

Referee Gianluca Rocchi admits he could have handled Maicon penalty incident better

Fernandinho hopes Manchester City can emulate Bayern Munich in "must win" tie against CSKA Moscow

Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho believes empty Arena Khimki will hinder CSKA Moscow clash

Jose Maria Marin claims Brazil has found its pride again

Thiago Silva: "With David Luiz and Marquinhos, PSG has the best defenders in the world"

Sao Paulo cancel their training camp in the USA

Kaka defends his return to the Brazilian team

José Mourinho praises Dunga despite frustration over lack of communication with international managers

Chelsea manager José Mourinho bemoans Diego Costa injury

Report: Internazionale latest club to join race to sign Cruzeiro midfielder Lucas Silva

Chelsea manager José Mourinho hails development of "number ten" Oscar

Lucas understands Maxwell's choice

Jonas celebrates hat-trick for Benfica

Kaka wants to stay longer at Sao Paulo

Robinho doesn't want to compare Gabriel and Geuvanio with Neymar

Neymar gains four kilos in weight

Report: Manchester United to target Torino wing-back Matteo Darmian as alternative to Barcelona's Daniel Alves

Barcelona Sporting Director Andoni Zubizarreta expects contract talks with defender Daniel Alves

Hernanes hails Internazionale character and believes he's getting back to his best

Internazionale midfielder Hernanes: "The season is beginning from this moment"

Brasileirão round 29: Team of the week

Daniel Alves' agent Dinah Santana admits the defender looks likely to leave Barcelona next summer

Carlos Alberto Parreira: Dunga's "been doing a good job"

Fiorentina goalkeeper Neto insists he would never join rivals Juventus

Goalkeeper Neto hoping to remain in Europe if Fiorentina renewal doesn't materialise

Latest News.

  • All
  • Seleção
  • Teams
  • Players
October 21, 2014
22:56Shakhtar Donetsk forward Luiz Adriano enjoys record breaking night in the Champions League
22:33Report: Real Madrid target to Bayern Munich's David Alaba if Marcelo leaves next summer
21:161994 World Cup winning Head Coach Carlos Alberto Perreira believes Brazil must regain their identity
20:36Neymar admits he now feels more settled at Barcelona
20:30Former Santos President Luis Alvaro de Oliveira claims Neymar's father received €3 million from Barcelona
19:04Referee Gianluca Rocchi admits he could have handled Maicon penalty incident better
16:35Fernandinho hopes Manchester City can emulate Bayern Munich in "must win" tie against CSKA Moscow
16:00Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho believes empty Arena Khimki will hinder CSKA Moscow clash
13:05Jose Maria Marin claims Brazil has found its pride again
12:56Thiago Silva: "With David Luiz and Marquinhos, PSG has the best defenders in the world"
12:44Thiago Silva: "OM deserves its place as leader"
12:26Sao Paulo cancel their training camp in the USA
12:17Kaka defends his return to the Brazilian team
October 20, 2014
23:09 José Mourinho praises Dunga despite frustration over lack of communication with international managers
18:42Chelsea manager José Mourinho bemoans Diego Costa injury
15:35Report: Internazionale latest club to join race to sign Cruzeiro midfielder Lucas Silva
15:34Chelsea manager José Mourinho hails development of "number ten" Oscar
13:38Lucas understands Maxwell's choice
13:30Jonas celebrates hat-trick for Benfica
12:12Kaka wants to stay longer at Sao Paulo
12:05Robinho doesn't want to compare Gabriel and Geuvanio with Neymar
11:56Neymar gains four kilos in weight
11:53Report: Manchester United to target Torino wing-back Matteo Darmian as alternative to Barcelona's Daniel Alves
11:40Barcelona Sporting Director Andoni Zubizarreta expects contract talks with defender Daniel Alves
10:44Hernanes hails Internazionale character and believes he's getting back to his best
10:35Internazionale midfielder Hernanes: "The season is beginning from this moment"
10:21Brasileirão round 29: Team of the week
October 18, 2014
22:01Daniel Alves' agent Dinah Santana admits the defender looks likely to leave Barcelona next summer
21:55Carlos Alberto Parreira: Dunga's "been doing a good job"
12:49Fiorentina goalkeeper Neto insists he would never join rivals Juventus
12:41Goalkeeper Neto hoping to remain in Europe if Fiorentina renewal doesn't materialise
10:35FIFA agent Francois Gallardo claims Barcelona defender Daniel Alves has already agreed to join Manchester United
October 17, 2014
15:07Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock hails Chelsea duo Diego Costa and Oscar
15:00Cruzeiro forward Júlio Baptista admits Real Madrid regrets and hails Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos
13:50Júlio Baptista: Lucas Silva would "fit in very nicely at Real Madrid"
13:42Cruzeiro forward Júlio Baptista admits joining Real Madrid "would be a wise move" for team-mate Lucas Silva
13:35Santos forward Leandro Damião could be set for six match ban following "shirt pull"
October 16, 2014
23:37Celta de Vigo forward Charles willing to be patient despite lack of playing time
23:24Cruzeiro midfielder Lucas Silva admits he would like to play for Real Madrid
18:37Rafael envisages the title with Manchester United
18:26Thiago Silva returns to the PSG squad
17:29Exclusive: Adriano going to Le Havre
17:18Dunga’s Most Important Players
15:53Cruzeiro midfielder Lucas Silva "proud and happy" with reported Real Madrid interest
15:46Roma defender Maicon believes "referee’s mistakes did affect" 3-2 defeat to Juventus
15:40Roma defender Maicon against video replays
October 15, 2014
23:34Exclusive: Maillol: "Adriano has accepted to come to Le Havre'
20:16Bayern Munich Sporting Director Matthias Sammer hopes for speedy Thiago recovery
20:08Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago "profoundly disappointed and upset" with injury setback
19:53Report: Chelsea to compete with Real Madrid for Cruzeiro midfielder Lucas Silva
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
September 22, 2014
22:09Argentina squad named for next month's friendly against Brazil
20:00Argentina Head Coach Gerardo Martino refuses to confirm if he will recall Carlos Tevez for Brazil friendly
September 10, 2014
17:10Head Coach Dunga blames MetLife Stadium pitch for mixed Brazil performance in 1-0 win over Ecuador
September 09, 2014
18:35Alex Sandro eager for Brazil to move on from 7-1 defeat Germany
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 21, 2014
22:56Shakhtar Donetsk forward Luiz Adriano enjoys record breaking night in the Champions League
22:33Report: Real Madrid target to Bayern Munich's David Alaba if Marcelo leaves next summer
20:36Neymar admits he now feels more settled at Barcelona
20:30Former Santos President Luis Alvaro de Oliveira claims Neymar's father received €3 million from Barcelona
19:04Referee Gianluca Rocchi admits he could have handled Maicon penalty incident better
16:35Fernandinho hopes Manchester City can emulate Bayern Munich in "must win" tie against CSKA Moscow
16:00Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho believes empty Arena Khimki will hinder CSKA Moscow clash
October 20, 2014
18:42Chelsea manager José Mourinho bemoans Diego Costa injury
15:35Report: Internazionale latest club to join race to sign Cruzeiro midfielder Lucas Silva
15:34Chelsea manager José Mourinho hails development of "number ten" Oscar
11:53Report: Manchester United to target Torino wing-back Matteo Darmian as alternative to Barcelona's Daniel Alves
11:40Barcelona Sporting Director Andoni Zubizarreta expects contract talks with defender Daniel Alves
10:44Hernanes hails Internazionale character and believes he's getting back to his best
10:35Internazionale midfielder Hernanes: "The season is beginning from this moment"
10:21Brasileirão round 29: Team of the week
October 18, 2014
22:01Daniel Alves' agent Dinah Santana admits the defender looks likely to leave Barcelona next summer
12:49Fiorentina goalkeeper Neto insists he would never join rivals Juventus
12:41Goalkeeper Neto hoping to remain in Europe if Fiorentina renewal doesn't materialise
10:35FIFA agent Francois Gallardo claims Barcelona defender Daniel Alves has already agreed to join Manchester United
October 17, 2014
15:07Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock hails Chelsea duo Diego Costa and Oscar
15:00Cruzeiro forward Júlio Baptista admits Real Madrid regrets and hails Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos
13:50Júlio Baptista: Lucas Silva would "fit in very nicely at Real Madrid"
13:42Cruzeiro forward Júlio Baptista admits joining Real Madrid "would be a wise move" for team-mate Lucas Silva
13:35Santos forward Leandro Damião could be set for six match ban following "shirt pull"
October 16, 2014
23:37Celta de Vigo forward Charles willing to be patient despite lack of playing time
23:24Cruzeiro midfielder Lucas Silva admits he would like to play for Real Madrid
15:53Cruzeiro midfielder Lucas Silva "proud and happy" with reported Real Madrid interest
15:46Roma defender Maicon believes "referee’s mistakes did affect" 3-2 defeat to Juventus
15:40Roma defender Maicon against video replays
October 15, 2014
20:16Bayern Munich Sporting Director Matthias Sammer hopes for speedy Thiago recovery
20:08Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago "profoundly disappointed and upset" with injury setback
19:53Report: Chelsea to compete with Real Madrid for Cruzeiro midfielder Lucas Silva
19:42Foot injury ends Internacional defender Juan's season
12:13Multiple British teams monitoring K. Lierse S.K. winger Wamberto
11:35Defender Alex admits Milan must improve defensively
11:27Report: Arsenal set to compete with Chelsea for Benfica attacking midfielder Talisca
October 14, 2014
23:11Sporting CP defender Maurício claims Manchester United contact
19:35Jô's future at Atlético Mineiro in doubt
18:27Milan defender Alex remembers playing against Head Coach Filippo Inzaghi when he was at PSV
18:21Milan defender Alex: "You work harder both tactically and physically" in Italy
October 13, 2014
16:17Report: Liverpool and Milan considered as opponents for São Paulo goalkeeper Rogério Ceni's testimonial
16:01Leeds United loanee Adryan open to Flamengo return
15:34Chelsea forward Diego Costa relieved to get first Spain goal
10:14Brasileirão round 28 summary: Flamengo shock Cruzeiro, while Botafogo secure crucial win
October 12, 2014
23:38Real Madrid defender Marcelo states desire to play for Juventus and hails midfielder Paul Pogba
10:55Shakhtar Donetsk assistant manager Antônio Carlos believes Francesco Totti "needs to end his career as a champion"
10:46Pohang Steelers midfielder André Moritz joins Indian Super League franchise Mumbai City on loan
October 11, 2014
22:16Shakhtar Donetsk assistant manager Antônio Carlos believes Roma are stronger than Juventus
October 10, 2014
22:32Delhi Dynamos forward Alessandro Del Piero highlights André Santos, Elano and Zico as potential stars of Indian Super League
22:21Brazilian forward Nenê eager to impress at Hellas Verona
To the top