The FIFA World Cup can be a very tense affair and pales in competitiveness to only arguably the UEFA Champions League. This is a tournament where hard work, determination, and skill is usually simply not enough to win.
Sometimes in order to be triumphant in the World Cup, luck, and even downright divine intervention have to be at play. With that in mind, it comes as no surprise that every team that qualifies for the World Cup looks to maximise their chances of progressing as far into the tournament as possible, by milking every ounce of advantage they feel they hold over the opposition, be it skill wise, psychologically, or mentally.
Being the host nation, Brazil already enjoys the single biggest advantage in football which is playing on home turf. Everyone knows, and I’m sure there are several studies that would confirm that teams perform significantly better at home than they do away.
Perhaps this is due to the fact that the home nation/team are very eager to impress their fans, who are more likely to overwhelm opposition players and supporters with chants, and taunts due almost exclusively to their sheer numbers.
Brazil is guaranteed to have more fans than the opposition at every single game they play in the World Cup, and for anyone who plays football, or any sport in general, it is obvious that the higher the number of fans, the louder the support, and the more determined players are to give their best for their team.
What the home supporters offer psychologically and mentally to their team, has a negative effect on opposition teams. Away teams can be negatively affected mentally by an overwhelming home support, and this gives them a psychological disadvantage in a game.
Granted that Brazil will be able to enjoy such psychological and mental advantage going into the World Cup, they could have been able to capitalise on those advantages even more with the mere inclusion of Brazilian and Barcelona legend Ronaldinho Gaucho in the 23-man final squad.
Ronaldinho is the most talented and skilled player to ever play football and that is not up for argument. Wherever he played, home and opposition fans alike were excited to watch him and cheered for him.
This is a man that was able to transcend arguably sport’s most heated rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid, and put in a performance at the Bernabeu that earned him a standing ovation from opposition (Madrid) fans.
I understand that Luiz Felipe Scolari was right to leave Ronaldinho out of his squad, based solely on merit, but he would have been well advised to take the veteran playmaker to the World Cup.
Just like any other team, Brazil definitely have a few players on their roster that are probably not going to get any minutes in the World Cup, thus swapping one of these players for Ronaldinho would not necessarily unfairly starve them of minutes at the World Cup.
The appeal of the mercurial Brazilian is so grand that his mere presence on the bench could prompt opposing fans to come out in Brazilian shirts, or keep chanting his name at games, thus offering less support to their own team, which could be a huge positive for the Brazilian squad, and a simultaneous psychological and mental downer for opposition players.
Granted Brazil’s squad is as formidable as any, chances are they do not even need the extra advantage, but this is the World Cup, and anything can happen. Should Brazil fail to win the World Cup, surely at some point, Scolari has to contemplate on his failure to capitalise on the extra psychological and mental boost that Ronaldinho could have offered them
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