Seleção Brasileira – The Most Successful National Soccer Team in the World!
The Seleção Brasileira de Futebol, known as the Seleção, is a team of top players assembled by Brazilian coaches. It represents the Brazilian soccer federation, the Confederação Brasileira de Futebol, at international level, in friendly matches and tournaments.
The matches of the Brazilian national soccer team are a world event. Above all, the Seleção's wonderful technique makes every fan's heart beat faster. It has not only won title after title, but has often played the most beautiful soccer. The Seleção has thus made its mark on world soccer and is still one of the title favorites at tournaments. So if you have the opportunity to experience Brazilian soccer live on your Brazil vacation, don't miss this opportunity!
The Seleção's first successes
Brazil's first official international match was against Argentina in Buenos Aires on September 20, 1914. The 3-0 defeat was to be the first of many duels against the archrival. At that time, the Seleção still wore immaculate white jerseys. It was only after the bitter 1950 World Cup defeat at home to Uruguay that these were replaced by the now famous yellow jerseys and blue shorts.
Brazil won its first major title on home soil in 1919 at the South American championship, the Copa América. In 1922, the championship was repeated, but that remained the last major success for many years.
In the 1920s, the development of Brazilian soccer was slowed by racism and an unhealthy rivalry between the soccer associations of the states of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. This led to only Rio players participating in the 1930 World Cup in Uruguay and Brazil being eliminated after the preliminary round.
In 1934 in Italy, they lost to Italy in the round of 16. The first respectable success was achieved in 1938 at the World Cup in France. After victories over Poland and Czechoslovakia, the Seleção only lost to Italy in the semifinals. Brazil won the match for third place 4-2 against Sweden. Leonidas became top scorer with seven goals and Brazil's first world star. The first of many!
The first big low point
In 1950, the stage was set for the Brazilians to win their first world title. They went into the tournament as house-high favorites. Only the English were considered serious contenders. The games were played in the six cities of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Recife, Curitiba, Porte Alegre, and Belo Horizonte. The Seleção played all matches in the brand-new, but not yet fully completed Maracanã Stadium. More than 200,000 spectators witnessed what was probably the Brazilian national soccer team's most painful defeat ever.
Brazil survived the preliminary round without any problems. Since there was no knockout round in this tournament, it continued with a final round in which Brazil, Spain, Uruguay, and Sweden met. After convincing victories against Sweden with 7:1 and Spain with 6:1, the World Cup title seemed to be only a formality. On July 16, 1950, the big duel with Uruguay took place in Rio de Janeiro. Even a draw would have been enough for the hosts, but it came to the Maracanaço, the "shock of the Maracanã". Despite leading 1-0, Brazil lost the game 2-1 and finished as runners-up. It was the last game for two years and the last in the white jerseys, which have since been banned.
The first World Cup title and the legendary era of Pelé
After the 1954 World Cup in Sweden had already ended in the quarterfinals against Hungary, a then 17-year-old entered the big stage of international soccer at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden and led the Seleção to the long-awaited World Cup title with six goals. In the final, Brazil defeated hosts Sweden 5-2, with Pelé finally becoming the big star of this World Cup with two goals.
In 1962 in Chile, Brazil successfully defended its title. All eyes were on Pelé, but he injured himself in the second game against Czechoslovakia and was out for the rest of the tournament. Thus, other players stepped into the spotlight, such as Garrincha, who became the top scorer along with several others. The title defense remains unique to this day.
Four years later, the World Cup was held in England, the self-proclaimed home of soccer. The Seleção was again considered a co-favorite, but was eliminated after two defeats in the preliminary round.
A long dry spell
Brazil went empty-handed at each of the next five World Cups, although the Seleção was always among the tournament favorites. At the 1974 World Cup in Germany, after a bumpy start, they had a chance to reach the final. But the Seleção lost 2-0 to the equally strong Dutch and finished fourth.
In 1978, the World Cup was hosted by archrival Argentina. Again, the Brazilians did not play well in the preliminary round and barely advanced. What happened in the final round is still disputed today. In their final group game, the hosts needed a win against Peru with a four-goal difference. In the end, the score was 6-0, and since then there have been many voices that speak of manipulation. Suspicions persist that the Argentine military junta bought the high victory with possible grain deliveries to the Peruvian state. In the end, the host nation took the title and Brazil was eliminated in the intermediate round, ultimately finishing third.
At the 1982 World Cup in Spain, the Seleção was the heavy favorite for the tournament with players like Zico, Falcão, Toninho Cerezo, Éder Aleixo, and Sócrates. In the preliminary round, they won all three games and scored 10:2 goals. In the second final round, their opponents were Argentina and Italy. After a 3:1 win against the Argentines, the last game for a place in the semifinals was against Italy. The match was narrowly lost 2:3 and meant an early exit for Brazil.
In the next two World Cups, the Seleção failed to reach the quarterfinals against France in 1986 and the round of 16 against Argentina in 1990.
Titles four and five
At the 1994 World Cup in the USA, the Brazilians finally had reason to celebrate again. With Romário and Bebeto in attack, they won their fourth world title. The final against Italy featured a penalty shootout for the first time. Four years later, the Seleção reached the final again despite a rather mixed performance, but lost 3-0 to France.
The 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea was marked by big falls for the favorites. So it was easier for Brazil to secure its fifth World Cup title in the end. The final was won 2:0 against Germany. It was the first match between these two nations at a World Cup.
The new generation
After disappointing performances at the 2006 World Cup in Germany and the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the focus was on the 2014 World Cup on home soil. Among other things, the 2012 Olympic soccer tournament in London served as preparation. But instead of the expected gold medal, Brazil lost the final against Mexico 1-2.
At the 2013 Confederations Cup in their own country, the Seleção gained new hope for their mission to win World Cup number six. The Seleção defeated world and European champions Spain in the final. During the tournament, there were also victories against Italy, Japan, Mexico, and Uruguay.
The big scar
At the 2014 World Cup on home soil, Brazil was naturally one of the favorites. In the preliminary round, there were unconvincing victories against Croatia and Cameroon. In the round of 16, they faced the strong Chileans, who had previously knocked out world champions Spain. With luck and a lot of fighting spirit, Brazil won after a penalty shootout. In the quarterfinals, they beat Colombia 2-1, but lost superstar Neymar for the rest of the tournament after a brutal foul.
On July 8, 2014, the Seleção faced Germany in Belo Horizonte. It was a day that the soccer-loving Brazilians will probably never forget. At halftime, the score was already 0:5, and after 90 minutes, 1:7. Brazil was humiliated at home and sank into national mourning. Even a small attempt to make amends in the third-place match against the Netherlands failed completely.
Historic failure at the Copa
Both the 2015 Copa América in Chile and the Copa América Centenario in the U.S., the jubilee tournament celebrating 100 years of the South American soccer federation CONMEBOL, ended in fiasco for Brazil. In 2015, they lost to Paraguay on penalties in the quarterfinals. A year later, they were eliminated in the preliminary round in a group with Ecuador, Peru, and Haiti!
As a small consolation to the soul of Brazilian soccer, the Seleção won the gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
After regaining some confidence with the gold medal at the Rio Olympics, the Brazilian national soccer team disappointed again at the 2018 World Cup in Russia and was once again eliminated early in the quarterfinals with a 2-1 loss to Belgium.
First title since 2007
At the 2019 Copa América on home soil, the Seleção celebrated another important title. After wins over Bolivia 3-0 and Peru 5-0, a goalless draw with Venezuela, and a narrow win over Paraguay, the semifinals in Belo Horizonte pitted Brazil against archrivals Argentina. Goals from Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino helped Brazil reach the final for the first time since 2007. Their opponents in the final were surprise team Peru, who had beaten Chile 3-0 in the semifinals. In front of 69,968 spectators at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil won 3-1 to claim its first Copa América title in 12 years.
The Copa 2021 was also held in Brazil. After a group stage and two narrow 1-0 victories in the quarterfinals and semifinals against Chile and Peru, defending champion Brazil again reached the final. In this match, however, archrival Argentina won 1-0.
A special history
Brazil is one of the largest and most important soccer nations in the world and has celebrated many successes in the past. To this day, Brazil always remains an unpleasant opponent in soccer matches and always confirms the reputation of a team that plays very beautiful "dance" soccer. If there is a soccer match with the Seleção, you should experience this soccer festival on your Brazil trip!
Sources: www.brasiloo.de, www.wikipedia.org