Football

All emotions and no tactics

That's the reason for Brazil's downfall, says former Selecao striker Giovane Elber


WEAK: Former Brazil striker Giovane Elber (top) says the current players, such as Luiz Gustavo (above), are running on only emotions in the tournament. PHOTOS: AFP, ACTION IMAGES

Former Brazil and Bayern Munich striker Giovane Elber knew Brazil were going to implode, after a conversation with Brazil defender Dante before yesterday morning's (Singapore time) semi-final against Germany.

News had emerged earlier in the tournament, that Brazil started using a sports psychologist to help the team amid worries about their mental state, after goalkeeper Julio Cesar and captain Thiago Silva cried in front of millions of TV viewers.

And Elber said that was a worrying sign of the mental state of the Selecao, who crashed to a shocking 7-1 defeat by the Germans yesterday morning.

"I spoke to Dante the other day, and he told me the team were riding on only emotions," said Elber, who works as a pundit for German TV at this year's World Cup.

"Dante told me they're trying to get through each round with emotions. But we saw the team fall apart after falling behind.

"You might be able to win a match, or maybe two, with emotions, but you're never going to win a World Cup on emotions alone and no tactics."

Germany coach Joachim Loew also agreed that Brazil's players were overwhelmed by the pressure of trying to win the World Cup at home.

Germany, who have had a sports psychologist with the team since 2004, have also gone to great lengths to shield their players from the pressure at the World Cup, setting up their base at a fortress-like, purpose-built compound on a remote beach in rural north-eastern Brazil.

The relaxed and always-composed deportment of the Germany players stands in sharp contrast with the emotions exhibited, and tears shed, by Brazil players - scenes that have amazed some Germans.

"Perhaps the pressure was just too much," Loew said in an interview on the German football association (DFB) website this morning, when asked why Brazil had imploded in the first half.

CRIPPLED

"The expectations on the team in their home country might have crippled them. We know all about that from our own experience in 2006," he said, referring to Germany's heartbreaking 2-0 semi-final loss to Italy that year.

"That's why I feel for my coaching counterpart Luiz Felipe Scolari, why I feel for the Brazil team, and the whole Brazilian nation."

Former Germany goalkeeper Oliver Kahn said he was astonished to see Brazil players crying on the pitch so often.

"I don't know how much weight the boys from Brazil were carrying on their shoulders," Kahn said.

"This team didn't have enough experience to come to grips with the pressures of this big tournament in their own country.

"We witnessed a collective implosion of the Brazil team."

- Reuters.

World Cup