Media slam 'ridiculous' Brazil, Chavez salutes Venezuelans
National media laid into five-time world champions Brazil on Monday after the auriverde made a hash of their first Copa America pool match, drawing 0-0 with rank outsiders Venezuela.
Although Brazil, on a hattrick of wins in the continental tournament, would have to make a similar mess of upcoming games against Paraguay and Ecuador to miss out on a quarter-final place, their poor showing enraged the press.
Worse still, it did not escape the country's scribes that Brazil's women have been performing rather better at the women's World Cup in Germany, where the Samba Girls have already reached the last eight with something to spare.
"The men's team turned in a ridiculous performance against the Venezuelans and the players left the pitch shame-faced after the 0-0 draw," stormed O Globo daily in a leader article.
"Neymar, Ganso, Pato, Robinho - they all played badly," the paper moaned.
"At least we have Marta," O Globo added, in a reference to the women's star striker who has been on the rampage at their event in Germany.
The paper added in an aside that the Brazilian game appeared to be going to the dogs - an ironic reference to a canine pitch invasion during the match.
The dog ran at one point to the Venezuelan six yard box - about the closest anyone got to the minnows' goal all afternoon - before trudging off.
"Zero inspiration" was how Folha de Sao Paulo daily saw the Brazilian showing. "The Brazilian team failed its first official test under coach Mano Menezes - and left the stadium to a chorus of boos."
O Estado de Sao Paulo said the team lacked a cutting edge.
"They lacked attacking oomph. The revamping of Brazil disappointed," the paper commented in allusion to a hoped-for new dawn under Menezes, who replaced Dunga after last year's World Cup.
O Estado said the dog's appearance summed things up.
"When the most important moment of a football match is the entrance of a dog onto the pitch to milk the applause of fans then that gives you an idea of the quality of the match," the paper commented.
Lance sports daily, noting that Venezuela are nicknamed the Vinotinto - red wine in Spanish, owing to their burgundy kit - said: "Brazil tasted a bitter red and disappointed."
Conversely, the Venezuelan press were elated at their team's showing.
"A golden point," chorused El Nacional and El Universal, while Ultimas Noticias was fulsome in its praise.
"The Vinotinto really gave us something to enjoy," the paper said.
President Hugo Chavez, making a surprise return home after surgery in Cuba to remove a cancerous tumour, also got in on the act via the new media, using his Twitter account to praise the players.
"What a tremendous showing by the Vinotinto! How proud we are of you boys! My best wishes to our coach Cesar Farias and to all of you," Chavez tweeted.
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