Brazil is the world’s most successful footballing nation by some distance. Five time winners of the FIFA World Cup, Brazil is also the only nation to qualify for every single World Cup, making at least the second round in every tournament since 1966. Before the start of the 2014 World Cup, Brazil had scored 210 goals and conceded only 88 in past tournaments, a ratio of 2.39. No other team has a goals ratio above two. Whilst there are other football mad countries in the world, none of them can quite compare to Brazil, where even the banks shut down early before national team games.
Whilst Brazil is unquestionably the world’s footballing powerhouse, its success in other endeavours hasn’t been as clear cut. Brazil is only the 91st most peaceful nation on earth according to the 2014 Global Peace Index, with a score just above the global average. Although it is not involved in any external conflicts, and has relatively low levels of military expenditure, weapons imports and exports, as well as good relations with its neighbouring countries, Brazil is beset with internal peace problems. Riots erupted in many cities on the eve of the World Cup, and perceptions of criminality, homicide, violent crime, and state repression all remain significantly high. Civil unrest saw over two million people take to the streets in 2013, and there are concerns that the benefits economic growth and development were not being equally distributed throughout society.
With tensions rising off the pitch, Brazil’s football team has also been under intense pressure in recent months. Whilst Brazil is still one of the highest ranked footballing nations, in 2012 they dropped out of the top ten, and in 2013 were even ranked as low as 21st. The seleção no longer seem as invincible as in previous years. However, the return of Luiz Felipe Scolari to the manager’s chair has brought a level of stability to the team, and his experience, combined with the youthful dynamism of players like Neymar, David Luiz, Fred, and Hulk, means that Brazil has a real shot of winning the FIFA World Cup for a sixth time. Whether that win would lead to an easing of social tensions, and the emergence of Brazil as an economic and global powerhouse, remains to be seen.Related Articles
As the world looks to Brazil to watch 32 countries fight it out on the soccer field, we take a look how this tournament would turn out if they were in the playoffs for peace.
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