Before the World Cup started, it was pretty much assumed that Brazil would score at least 300 goals and possibly re-enact Nike commercials while defenders rocked back and forth in the fetal position, emptying their bowels in the process.
But after a rather unconvincing first match against Croatia, have they lost some of their invincible luster?
England players and supporters alike will certainly have perked up knowing that they aren’t the only favoured team to stumble out of the gates as Sven’s side bored their way to a 1-0 over Paraguay.
Brazil looked vulnerable at the back, as expected, but surprisingly also lacked cohesion up front. Well, actually they still displayed a level of skill and teamwork that most teams may never reach but when compared to the hype and expectations that they and some hefty advertising budgets have set, they were disjointed and ugly to watch. Most disturbing for Carlos Alberto Parreira would have been Ronaldo and Adriano, who looked intent on reproducing their lacklustre club form going into the tournament – i.e. fat and uninterested.
To be honest, we all know that Brazil will still cane everyone and Ronaldo will end up top scorer while Sven will bring on Owen Hargreaves up front before losing on penalties in the quarter finals. But delusion is the basis of any good footballing discussion.
So are Brazil and England just getting warmed up? Or have we deluded ourselves into believing Brazil are unbeatable and England are…well…maybe not coached by Sven?