Brazil fans in the Cayman Islands are being put through the wringer of emotions because the samba kings have not yet fulfilled expectations at the World Cup.
Although Brazil boss Luiz Felipe Scolari insists his side are only three games from “heaven” after reaching the World quarterfinals following a nail-biting penalty shoot-out win over Chile on Saturday, they have not impressed in their four matches so far.
Brazil won the shootout 3-2 following a 1-1 extra time draw and will play Colombia in the last eight on Friday in Fortaleza. Packed with talented individuals, Brazil have not excited in their typical fashion, instead grinding out victories.
Nevertheless, Sports Minister Osbourne Bodden is a lifelong Brazil supporter and expects them to be world champions for the sixth time on July 13. He has been watching avidly on TV and will not be able to get to matches.
The tournament is being heralded as the best ever because action is free-flowing, a record number of goals have been scored and sportsmanship – apart from the Luis Suarez incident – has generally been good.
“This is one of the best West Cups in recent times as far as competitiveness goes,” said Bodden. “Brazil has been my team for over 40 years and are wonderful to watch in full flight.”
He is pleasantly surprised with the form of Costa Rica who played Greece on Sunday afternoon.
As for major talking points, he added, “Costa Rica has been playing great and they are a wonderful surprise being a CONCACAF team, but Spain’s demise was shocking.”
So far, the players who have impressed Bodden the most are Brazil’s Neymar, Lionel Messi (Argentina), James Rodriguez (Colombia) and Costa Rica’s Joel Campbell.
His favorite goal was Robin van Persie’s flying header against Spain closely followed by Rodriguez’s superb first strike on Saturday against Uruguay.
As for Suarez’s four-month and nine game ban for biting an opponent – his third offense – Bodden feels it was too lenient.
Bodden joked, “Suarez is sick and should have treatment and a muzzle applied – he needs to find his canine family ties. It should have been for a year minimum after three times. Sad because he’s a great talent.”
Monday’s last-16 matches start with France against Nigeria in Brasilia at 11 a.m. Cayman time followed by Germany facing Algeria at 3 p.m. in Porto Alegre.