Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tim Vickery in South America

I flew back to Brazil from London on the day that the group phase of the Champions League kicked off. I well recall that the talk in England at the time was that the entire group stage was dull and predictable. It was almost too easy for the Premier League sides. But that is not the way things have turned out.

The gods of football have a tendency to punish such hubris. Perhaps the most famous example is that of the England national team. Begged to appear in the first, pre-war World Cups, England stood imperially aloof. In 1950, when they finally did deign to appear, fate laughed in their faces, reserving for them a sensational 1-0 defeat by the United States.

Albeit with more justification, Brazilian football can occasionally trip up on a tendency to underestimate the opposition.

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