Brazil

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The begin

When the Englishman, Charles Miller, landed in Brazil at the end of the nineteenth century carrying a football and hoping to start the new game of soccer that was  becoming popular in England, it could never have been imagined that a South American country would become the world's great football's nation. The sport spread like wildfire and was soon played on the grass of the elegant clubs and on pitches. The English and their descendants started the first teams and formed the first leagues - football was on its way to becoming Brazil's national passion. During the 1920's, Brazil was already established as a force in South America football. In the 1930's, European fans were already being enthralled by the football of Domingos da Guia, a full-back with a talent for attacking and dribbling the ball out of his own area; with Leônidas da Silva, who achieved international fame by inventing the incredible bicycle kick; and with Friedreich, a formidable striker who was said to have scored more than one thousand goals. The first world title was some time in coming Brazil's way. Whilst the nation had great talent in relation to football, sport was in administrative disarray. Early in the 1930's the establishing of professionalism divided the clubs. Teams competed abroad without even the slightest evidence of structure. The chance to win a major title came in 1950 when Brazil hosted the World Cup and built the largest stadium in the world, the Maracanã.

Defeat by Uruguay in the final showed just how great the national passion really was. The Maracanã Stadium fell silent before erupting into sobs. There were heart attacks, brawls and even attempted suicides. Stars from the 1950 team, such as the goalkeeper Barbosa, the fullbacks Pinheiro and Juvenal and the attackers Zizinho, Ademir and Jair - all first line players - were greatly affected by the tragedy. However, Brazil recovered eight years later. With João Havelange - the present chairman of FIFA - at the head of the Brazilian Sporting Confederation (CBD), Brazilian football's governing body, the Brazilian team set off to compete in the Swedish Cup with a level of organization never seen before, led by the "Victory Field Marshal", Paulo Machado de Carvalho. The golden age of Brazilian football had arrived. The nation became world champion in 1958 with a dream team: Gilmar, Djalma Santos, Bellini, Nilton Santos, Didi, Garrincha, Vavá, Zagallo and of course, Pelé, twice world champion of clubs with Santos, the team comprising of Pelé, Coutinho, Mengálvio, Gilmar and Pepe. Arguments raged in Brazil as to whether Santos was the best team or whether it was Botafogo, with Garrincha, Nilton Santos, Didi and also Amarildo's team, Quarentinha. A combination of the two helped Brazil to become world champion two years running inChile in 1962.

Twice the team got as far as the Olympic final only to lose. However, from the winners of the silver medal in Los Angeles in 1984 and Seoul in 1988, emerged the basis of the first Brazilian team to become champion four times in the 1994 World Cup held in the USA. The goalkeeper, Taffarel, the captain Dunga and the striker Romário - perhaps the most important players in that campaign - formed part of Olympic teams. At the Olympic Games in Atlanta, Brazil's team, headed by the four-time world champions Aldair and Bebeto, and by the biggest revelation of our football at present, Ronaldinho, won the bronze medal. In France, in 1998, Brazil was the World Cup's vice-champion and 2002 was the World Cup's Champion. Twice the team got as far as the Olympic final only to lose. However, from the winners of the silver medal in Los Angeles in 1984 and Seoul in 1988, emerged the basis of the first Brazilian team to become champion four times in the 1994 World Cup held in the USA. The goalkeeper, Taffarel, the captain Dunga and the striker Romário - perhaps the most important players in that campaign - formed part of Olympic teams. At the Olympic Games in Atlanta, Brazil's team, headed by the four-time world champions Aldair and Bebeto, and by the biggest revelation of our football at present, Ronaldinho, won the bronze medal. In France, in 1998, Brazil was the World Cup's vice-champion and 2002 was the World Cup's Champion.

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