World Cup in danger: record world champions Brazil and Neymar on the brink

World Cup in danger

The record world champion on the brink

Status: 05.01.2024 | Reading time: 4 minutes

Neymar can’t help Brazil at the moment

Quelle: Getty Images/Pedro Vilela

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Brazil’s football is experiencing a historic decline. There is pure chaos in the association, the new national coach has withdrawn his commitment, the national team is continually embarrassing itself. Meanwhile, superstar Neymar celebrates with models on the water.

Neymar does what there is no reason for in the Brazilian association and especially in the once-glorious national team: he simply celebrates and is happy. The superstar doesn’t let his good mood be taken away from him.

The injured captain of the Selecao counters criticism of his extravagant lifestyle, most recently documented in detail on a luxurious cruise he organized with musicians and models, with a lot of mockery. “My condolences to those who weren’t there,” he wrote on Instagram.

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Some people would find sympathy for the downfall of the national team and the association more appropriate. “The year was marked by chaos behind the scenes, changes in power, standoffs with other organizations and, as if all that wasn’t enough, embarrassing results in football,” the Brazilian sports newspaper “Lance” recently wrote. The national team has collected negative records and broken taboos.

The portal “UOL” described the Selecao as “survivors”: “Because of their history, the great talents of the country and the passion of the people for the sport. But the truth is, if it was just the bandage, she would have died already.”

That’s why Brazil’s World Cup qualification is shaky

Whether with or without Neymar. Whether with or without the highly gifted footballer who, unlike Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, repeatedly failed at major tournaments. Olympic champion 2016, that’s all it was. The “Kicker” recently called Neymar a “wasted phenomenon” who had gone from being a national hero to a tragic figure.

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He will continue to miss the upcoming Copa América due to his torn cruciate ligament and meniscus. And whether Brazil makes it to the 2026 World Cup in the USA, Canada and Mexico will – as of now – at least work thanks to the expanded field of participants from 32 to 48 teams. The five-time world champion, who has the right to reach the World Cup finals as South American number one, is currently only an embarrassing sixth. For another reason, World Cup qualification could be shaky.

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Changes in the new year

The focus here is not Neymar, but Ednaldo Rodrigues. In July 2023, when Fernando Diniz was announced as interim coach, he announced that Carlo Ancelotti would replace him next summer and take over the national team. Rodrigues was removed from office at the beginning of December last year – by a court in the state of Rio de Janeiro. The 69-year-old is accused of irregularities in his election.

Brazil still averted Fifa actions

The court decision in turn has brought FIFA into action; the world association can punish interference by state bodies in the affairs of its national member associations with a suspension. On Thursday, several Brazilian media outlets unanimously reported that the Supreme Court in Brazil brought the deposed president back into office. Whether out of conviction or because of the threat of exclusion from the World Cup? At least there is a debate about this in the country.

Ednaldo Rodrigues is back in office

Quelle: AFP/MAURO PIMENTEL

Because FIFA intervention is not that rare. In 2019, Nigeria was hit after the association president, among others, was arrested there. In 2018, Sierra Leone was suspended after the association’s leadership was removed from power by politicians. In 2017, the Pakistan association was suspended because the association’s offices and accounts were under the control of a court-appointed administrator. All just a small selection from the past few years.

Officials from FIFA and the continental association Conmebol have already announced their presence in Brazil. You want to check the situation on site. According to the court, new elections should be organized, but this also amounts to interference in the association’s interests, which FIFA can sanction.

Ancelotti preferred to extend his contract with Real Madrid

The question is: which coach will want to take over the Brazilian national team in such a situation? The newspaper “O Globo” was already happy to list reactions from the internet that showered the association with scorn and ridicule after Ancelotti’s contract extension with Real Madrid was announced. “Congratulations CBF,” it said, among other things.

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Diniz’s record, who is also the coach of Fluminense Rio de Janeiro, could hardly be poorer. Of the six games in the World Cup qualification, three were lost in a row. The low point: The 0-1 loss in the legendary Maracana against world champion arch-rivals Argentina. The team only won two wins under Diniz. Only Neymar finds reason to celebrate at the moment.

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