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Brazil On the Verge, Cameroon On the Final Round

Posted July. 02, 2001 19:58,   


Did `diastrophism` already begin in the world soccer?

While four-time World Cup champion, Brazil, fell in the critical moment to be eliminated from the final round of the 2002 World Cup, Cameroon and the Republic of South Africa were decided to advance to the final round in the earliest round except the host countries, Korea and Japan, and the defending champion France.

Brazil met with the shameful 0-1 defeat in the 13th preliminary game with Uruguay.

Although Head Coach Scolari newly led the team, and the leading players such as Romario and Rivaldo participated, Brazil had to taste defeat, which was a shock to them.

Currently, Brazil is maintaining the fourth place by the hairbreadth goal difference over the fifth placed Uruguay with the same win points (21 points). Brazil left 5 more games for the qualification. But because of its opponents, Paraguay, Argentine, Chile, Bolivia, are all strong teams, with exception to Venezuela, it is expected to be hard for the Brazil even to remain in the fourth place. If Brazil steps down to the fifth place, it has to contest with Australia in a playoff for the final round ticket.

On the other hand, Cameroon was decided to advance to the next year`s showcase event regardless of the results of the remaining games, securing 18 win points (6 wins 1 loss) with the victory over Togo, 2-0, in the A-group preliminary round. Cameroon presently leads over the second placed Angola by 12 win points.

And the Republic of South Africa, who tied with Burkina Faso in E-group preliminary round, also joined the final-round qualifiers, acquiring 13 points (4 wins 1 draw). South Africa leads over Zimbabwe (6 points) who has two more remaining games.

Some experts evaluated that although the world`s best Brazil`s slump has seemingly derived from the failure of a shift in generation, the non-cooperation of the leading players who play in Europe, and the injuries of the starting members, it is, above all, deeply related to the rapid growth of the African countries.

Brazil has enjoyed the long prime time from 1920s with the `Samba` soccer of the dazzling individual skills, fusing the Latin soccer style with the merits of the Black players for the first time in the world.

But as the African players has actively advanced to the international stages such as the European leagues, the merits of the Brazilian soccer have relatively faded away.

Brazil has, nevertheless, recorded pretty good results thus far. Accordingly Brazil has been negligent to acknowledge the merits of the European soccer which has better strategies than the South American soccer.

Meanwhile, the fifth placed Mexico defeated, 1-0, the first placed U.S. with no loss (4 wins and 1 draw) in the North and Central America and Caribbean Sea qualifying round, and it escaped from the six straight losses including the losses in the Confederation Cup.

Bae Keuk-In bae2150@donga.com