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 23, 2014
17:06Internazionale boss backs Hernanes
14:43Former Barcelona midfielder pleased Neymar and Messi showing no problems this season
14:42Queens Park Rangers boss Harry Redknapp reveals Sandro training ground injury
12:27Luis Enrique praises Barcelona duo Neymar and Messi
12:01Barcelona head coach not concerned over Neymar’s injury
September 22, 2014
22:30Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany admits he enjoyed battling with Chelsea's Diego Costa
22:25Atlético Madrid defender Miranda eager to keep fans onside
22:20Atlético Madrid centre-back Miranda concerned with out of form defence
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
15:38Neymar injury concern is not grave
14:55Robinho in fine form as Santos beat Figueirense
13:00Kaka refuses to be drawn into polemic comments after Corinthians defeat
12:53Marquinhos unhappy with PSG performance
12:46Bernard can't prevent a Shakhtar defeat
September 21, 2014
19:22Rafael misses former Manchester United team mates Ferdinand, Evra and Vidic
19:00Juan Jesus warns Internazionale team mates to look Palermo’s Paulo Dybala
18:30Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique fine with Neymar’s trip to Milan
September 20, 2014
23:17Ramires hopes for extended stay at Chelsea
23:11Brazil international Rafael hails influence of senior players at Manchester United
23:03Manchester United defender Rafael hopes for extended stay
22:58New Internacional forward Nilmar pleased to get back to playing at a "higher standard"
22:54Internacional forward Nilmar insists he is "not a saviour"
10:30Former Chelsea midfielder believes Ramires is key ahead of Manchester City clash
09:30Liverpool and Manchester United interested in Barcelona’s Dani Alves
09:00‘Sandro will be a great buy,’ insists Queens Park Rangers boss Harry Redknapp
08:15Fernandinho discusses Manchester City’s winless run
08:00Queens Park Rangers Harry Redknapp claims Sandro deal was cut-price
September 19, 2014
21:28Barcelona defender Douglas looking to learn from Cafu and Daniel Alves
17:56APOEL Nicosia defender Carlão named in UEFA.com's team of the week
16:50Chelsea forward Didier Drogba praises team-mate Diego Costa's start in England
16:12Barcelona defender Douglas notices defensive improvement since working under Head Coach Luis Enrique
15:54Champions League blip for Blues means better value
15:47Brasileirão round 22 summary: Cruzeiro back to winning ways as São Paulo stumble at Coritiba
13:02Technical Adviser Prashant Agarwal confirms Elano has signed for Indian Super League franchise Chennaiyin
11:00'Manchester City have to beat Chelsea,' insists Fernandinho
10:45Fernandinho: Manchester City must bounce back
10:30‘It is normal that Chelsea are favourites for Champions League,’ insists Ramires
10:15Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers: I have no doubts about Coutinho
10:00Liverpool boss Rodgers praises “brilliant” Philippe Coutinho
September 18, 2014
14:29Dante and Rafinha upbeat after Munich's win against Manchester City
11:54Ronaldinho misses penalty in first game for Queretaro
11:49Carlos Dunga drops Thiago Silva
11:42Brazil's Dunga defends Mario Fernandes
11:36Dunga calls for continuity
September 17, 2014
22:25Zenit forward Hulk praises team-mate Oleg Shatov's role in his goal against Benfica
22:16Sampdoria forward Eder admits Palermo were interested in signing him this summer
22:13Sampdoria forward Eder praises Head Coach Siniša Mihajlović
22:08Roma defender Maicon refusing to get carried away despite emphatic CSKA Moscow victory
16:18Dunga surprises with Dodo and Mario Fernandes
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
September 08, 2014
19:12Cruzeiro midfielder Everton Ribeiro praises Brazil Head Coach Dunga
18:57Brazil midfielder Everton Ribeiro pleased with Colombia win and hopes for further success against Ecuador
September 06, 2014
21:04Colombia Head Coach Jose Pekerman admits Juan Cuadrado red card was costly in friendly defeat to Brazil
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
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 22, 2014
22:30Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany admits he enjoyed battling with Chelsea's Diego Costa
22:25Atlético Madrid defender Miranda eager to keep fans onside
22:20Atlético Madrid centre-back Miranda concerned with out of form defence
September 20, 2014
23:17Ramires hopes for extended stay at Chelsea
23:11Brazil international Rafael hails influence of senior players at Manchester United
23:03Manchester United defender Rafael hopes for extended stay
22:58New Internacional forward Nilmar pleased to get back to playing at a "higher standard"
22:54Internacional forward Nilmar insists he is "not a saviour"
September 19, 2014
21:28Barcelona defender Douglas looking to learn from Cafu and Daniel Alves
17:56APOEL Nicosia defender Carlão named in UEFA.com's team of the week
16:50Chelsea forward Didier Drogba praises team-mate Diego Costa's start in England
16:12Barcelona defender Douglas notices defensive improvement since working under Head Coach Luis Enrique
15:47Brasileirão round 22 summary: Cruzeiro back to winning ways as São Paulo stumble at Coritiba
13:02Technical Adviser Prashant Agarwal confirms Elano has signed for Indian Super League franchise Chennaiyin
September 17, 2014
22:25Zenit forward Hulk praises team-mate Oleg Shatov's role in his goal against Benfica
22:16Sampdoria forward Eder admits Palermo were interested in signing him this summer
22:13Sampdoria forward Eder praises Head Coach Siniša Mihajlović
22:08Roma defender Maicon refusing to get carried away despite emphatic CSKA Moscow victory
September 16, 2014
23:27Internacional midfielder Charles Aranguiz admits he is a "disorganised" player
23:23Internacional legend Elías Figueroa hails fellow Chilean Charles Aranguiz
23:18Flamengo forward Eduardo admits he feels "like a foreigner" in Brazil
23:11Luiz Gustavo insists he is happy at VfL Wolfsburg
23:06Athletic Bilbao Head Coach Ernesto Valverde hails Shakhtar Donetsk midfielders Alex Teixeira and Douglas Costa
September 15, 2014
18:38Milan give injury update on defender Alex
18:27Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho would be open to signing new deal
18:21Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho notes English sides were interested in Benfica star Talisca
18:11Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu expects Alex to quickly become key at Milan
September 14, 2014
09:59Athletic Bilbao Head Coach Ernesto Valverde hails Barcelona forward Neymar
09:54Ronaldinho motivated to succeed with Queretaro
09:50Ronaldinho insists he won't change his lifestyle at Queretaro
09:45Fluminense forward Fred insists World Cup disappointment is "in the past"
09:39Fluminense forward Fred insists jeering motivates him
September 13, 2014
22:33Flamengo forward Eduardo notes Brazilian football is growing in Croatia and Ukraine
22:26Flamengo forward Eduardo admits he thought the Brasileirão "would be easy"
22:20Real Madrid defender Pepe bemoans set-piece deficiencies
22:12Palermo loanee Emerson hails Alex Sandro and notes Robinho and Felipe Anderson persuaded him to make Serie A switch
22:10Palermo loanee Emerson eager to learn in Serie A
September 12, 2014
18:34Chelsea owned midfielder Lucas Piazon admits he could be open to permanent Eintracht Frankfurt switch
17:35Pele confident Lionel Messi can still win the World Cup
17:01Genoa not expecting FIFA sanctions over Anselmo transfer
16:14Ronaldinho hopes to keep winning at Queretaro
16:02Ronaldinho admits Rafa Marquez influenced his decision to join Queretaro
September 10, 2014
17:04Agent admits Maicon's Brazil career is likely to be over
16:59Sao Paulo loanee Alexandre Pato confirms he returned to Brazil to overcome injury problems
16:53Alexandre Pato blames medics for Milan demise
16:46Agent confirms Brazil are interesting in capping Napoli midfielder Jorginho
September 09, 2014
18:26Danilo praises new Porto Head Coach Julen Lopetegui
18:23Alex Sandro pleased with Porto's start to the season
17:44Maxwell confident Paris Saint-Germain can push Barcelona in the Champions League
16:00Paris Saint-Germain defender Maxwell hails time at Barcelona
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