Cards on the table face up, Roy Hodgson was a long way from being my choice for the England hot seat but, although not exceptional, he hasn’t done all that badly to date, and now he has a victory over Brazil on his CV. It’s the Oscar – not the dos Santos Emboaba Júnior tyro of Chelsea fame – of accolades for international managers to lay claim to a win against the Samba boys. Some say however, that all that glistens may not be gold?
The argument goes like this. In recent times, it’s become increasingly fashionable for people to view the globe-trotting Seleçãoas a revenue-raising asset for the CBF. The Brazilian Football Confederation, in need of cash, touts the lustre of the famed yellow shirt, around the world, offering‘friendly fixtures’ to the highest bidders. The manager then selects a team containing locally-based Brazilians, sprinkled with established names; some new, some not so new. Big gates are guaranteed, and everyone’s a winner!
I’m not sure about this, but I can see the argument. Would a Brazil team facing England in a World Cup quarter-final – I would say semi-final, but we don’t get that far – contain the four London-based players who crossed town to Wembley on wednesday, plus the faded, but still celebrated, Ronaldinho? I’m somewhat less than totally convinced they would. Clearly, for a team bereft of meaningful competitive football, a game against England will have some merit, but recent other recent outings may be less useful to a coach developing a team.
So, England beat Brazil, and that’s never a bad thing, but perhaps a little perspective is in order here. Let’s take the win and use it to build confidence – plus give a slap on the back to Roy and the boys, but we’re world beaters now. The team we played wore the classic yellow and blue, but perhaps there was a hint of it being‘just like watching Brazil.’