opinionBy Jonathan Isaiah
Brazil is acclaimed to be the most successful football team ever having won five World Cup titles and 14 Copa America trophies. They have produced greats like Pele, Garincha, Zico, Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Romario but they have never won gold in football in the Olympics.
This is surprising considering the number of talents that abound in the country and the kind of players they have produced. Brazil has released her final list for the Olympics with Thiago Silva of AC Milan, Marcelo of Real Madrid and Hulk of Porto as the three over age players. Also, new Brazilian sensation, Neymar regarded as the next big Brazilian star is in the squad with AC Milan striker Pato.
The three overage players will bring in a wealth of experience to the squad. Thiago Silva is seen as the best central defender in the world today. He will provide excellent leadership and direction in the team and will be confident of nullifying any attack in the competition.
Marcelo had a great season with his club Real Madrid and Hulk who is one of the hottest players in Europe now with many top European clubs chasing his signature will add class to the team. Brazil coach, Menez said this about Hulk: "He brings a lot of strength to the team. His experience will be important in big matches, as well as his great ability to be decisive."The attack line of Brazil will be made up of Neymar, Pato, Hulk and Ganso.
This is an enviable attack line as they will probably be lining up for Brazil come the World Cup in 2014 which Brazil will be hosting. Anything less than gold will be considered a failure by many."
Brazil has been under the radar these last few years because the team is not as great as it used to be. Argentina has been producing talents this past few years with Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and Lavezzi all in the headlines. They have overtaken their South American rivals Brazil as the team with the most star names.
To make matters worse for Brazil, in the recent rankings released by FIFA, Brazil is now 11th in the world-the first time it is out of the top 10 since the FIFA rankings started. Most fans are said to have lost hope in Brazil these days.
Brazil is in the same group with Egypt, Belarus and New Zealand; they are expected to easily qualify from the group. The Brazilians are the hot favourites to win the Olympic gold but their major threat are the Spaniards and Britain.
Spain boasts of players like David De Gea of Man United, Jordi Alba, Juan Mata, Christain Tello and Munian. Spanish football is on the high at the moment and the Spaniards are confident of repeating the successes of their senior counterparts in the just concluded European championship.
Britain also boasts of players like Ryan Giggs, Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey and Micah Richards. These two teams will give Brazil a run for their money. Argentina which has won the last two gold medals in the Olympics did not qualify for this Olympics.
Four other nations are making their debuts in this Olympics - Senegal, Gabon, Belarus and the United Arab Emirates
Brazil star Neymar is eyeing success at this Olympics, the 20 year old is already being compared to Lionel Messi and the Olympics is the perfect stage for him to show his potentials on the world stage,he said; "We've got everything we need to be champions.
I think Brazil is always one of the favourites, no matter the competition. It's always been that way. "We've got a very good side too, and players with a lot of potential."Also Brazil coach Menezes is confident of his team's chances in the Olympics, he said: "We are certain that we have a quality group of players who will give the Brazilian national team a chance to fight for the medal at the end."