A brief story of soccer passion in Brazil

Football was born in England, travelled the world with their people in the bottom on travel bags and suitcases and settled in Brazil late in the 19th century. From my research, a Brazilian gentleman of Scottish origins by the name of Charles Miller is credited with introducing football to Brazil, in the city of Sao Paulo.

I found on Wikipedia[1] that Miller brought a football and a set of rules in 1894. From further research I found that football took hold in the imagination of the people of the country, thanks to a large extent to the European immigrants of various origins.

Digging a little more, that was not the only influence, with Germans in the south of the country playing a strong part in the launch of the sport interestingly, the oldest running football club in the country was founded in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, and a club named Rio Grande Football Club was founded in 1900[2]. It is still going strong, though not in the forefront of the sport in Brazil.

The fact that football was brought into the country by immigrants, also meant that it was played largely by them and their descendents. As well, it was for a long time only played by white men. Apart from that, there was also a further division in class, with only affluent people playing the sport.

By 1910 some of the most traditional clubs in Brazil were established. So it was that in that year Botafogo de Futebol e Regatas and Sport Club Corinthians Paulista were founded, in the states of Rio and Sao Paulo.

It would take millions of words to describe the history of football in Brazil. This little post is only a dip of a toe in the water. The reason why I decided to write about it was a great read about the sport in Brazil, referring to the South American Championships in 1919.

That, according to my source[3] was when the Brazilian soul was really captured by football, when the national team really became national, with the inclusion of all races and economic classes in the team.

As well, it was also when the country became electrified by the way how the team went on to winning the final against Uruguay. It took two matches to decide the winner (there were no penalty shoot-outs then) and Brazil won in the second match, after 120 minutes of football had been played and created a rivalry with Uruguay that lasts to this day.

During the century that has gone past since football first came into the country, Brazilians are up there as the best in the world in nearly all forms of football, the exception being the women's game. For instance, the Beach Soccer team of Brazil have just won their 4th World Championship in a row, on the sands of Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, at Jumeira Beach. By the way, that is a great place to visit, I should write a piece about it soon.

National teams of Brazil dominate at senior levels in Fifa competitions, having won the World Cup on 5 occasions. They have also came second in 1950, 1998. In 2010 in South Africa, they will again be amongst the favourites.

Leading up to the World Cup, they have come at the top of qualifiers in South America and have won the Confederations Cup also in South Africa, beating a surprising USA team in the final.

What captures the imagination about the Brazilian National team is not so much that they win, but how they win. Over the years, and I have been following their exploits since I was a kid, they have either won spectacularly or not at all. My first images of their team was the 1982 World Cup in Spain on my dad's shoulders (so I was told, as I was 4 then) and since then have looked closely into everything they do. Looking forward to how they will perform in South Africa. Even though I will be supporting Australia, my second team will be Brazil for sure.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_William_Miller

[2] For info on Rio Grande Sport Club http://www.sportclubriogrande.com.br/