It could not have ended in a better way. Galvão, the most popular man in the Brazilian sports media, narrated in a choked voice as Neymar stepped up to take the last penalty. Those 15 seconds seemed like eternity. Then came the tears. Everyone was crying. I was sobbing. It wasn't just a gold medal, it was football once again giving people from a turbulent country a sense of hope.
Dunga, Romário, Bebeto, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho and many other Brazilians stars had tried to reach these heights and failed. After three silvers (1984, 1988, 2012) and two bronzes (1996,2008), winning a gold medal had become an obsession. One could say the other nations did not bring as powerful a squad as Brazil's. Or that the tournament had little importance in a greater footballing scale. Or even that it was not much more than our obligation to win at home, after past humiliation that will be never forgotten. It doesn't matter, it was the last piece missing in a beautiful history.
Though, it didn't start well. After two poor 0-0 draws against South Africa and Iraq, something had to be done. Micale, the Olympic manager, asked for Tite's help and the new boss of Brazil gave instructions and speeches. Not only did it work, but it unleashed the goal scoring quartet: Gabigol, Gabriel Jesus and Luan, all led by the maestro Neymar.
Celebrations are now over and there is a mix of anticipation and anxiety in the air. Before Tite started his work, we were in sixth position in the qualifiers and therefore in danger of not qualifying for the World Cup for the first time ever. However, a new cycle for Brazil started this week, with Tite's first game against Ecuador in Quito. A tough game, for sure, but Jesus took us to heaven and Brazil won 3-0.
Tite revealed in his biography (Camila Mattoso, 2016) he would not accept a future invitation to be Brazil's manager while "those kind of people" worked at CBF. And by this term, he was referring to the men in charge of F: João Havelange died at 100 before he could be charged for his crimes. His son-in-law, Ricardo Teixeira, is on the FBI radar. José Maria Marin was arrested for the FIFAgate operation in Switzerland. Marco Polo Del Nero is a president who does not leave the country due to "personal reasons" (as in, if he leaves Brazil's limits, he can be arrested).
Still, when Dunga was fired two months ago due to Copa América Centenário fiasco, the whole country knew Tite was going to finally give in, even though against his own beliefs. There has never been such a popular demand for a manager in decades. After all, he has won everything with Corinthians: two Brazilian national titles (Brasileirão, 2011, 2015), Copa Libertadores (2012), Club World Cup (2012), among other titles.
Tite's first call up was consistent, with few surprises (Taison, Giuliano, Paulinho), but minor disappointments (such as the absence of Luan).He worked with Taison and Giuliano at Internacional (2008-09) and he was the man behind Paulinho's breakout at Corinthians (2011-12). He knows their qualities and trusts them.
In terms of tactics, Tite loves 4-1-4-1 with deep connection on the sides (triangles) while attacking and huge compaction when defending. Brazil’s new backbone is:Alisson; Dani Alves, Miranda, Marquinhos, Marcelo; Casemiro; Willian, Renato Augusto, Paulinho, Neymar; Gabriel Jesus.It won’t take long to Coutinho to fit in the line-up.We may never see again the Joga Bonito play style, but how will we try to recover our roots. It's a new dawn, a new day, a new life for us...and we're feeling good.