Brazil is not sorry for dancing into World Cup quarterfinals

Argentina and Brazil share a 750-mile border and an extended custom of World Cup excellence, having mixed to win seven titles and attain the semifinals collectively in 4 of the final 5 tournaments.

No different two neighbors are even near that stage of accomplishment.

But for all they share, there’s a large distinction in how they’ve greeted that success. Whereas the cheerful Brazilians have danced and sang their means into the ultimate eight of this World Cup, the place they may meet Croatia on Friday, Argentina has displayed all the enjoyment and spontaneity of somebody getting ready for a root canal heading into its quarterfinal with the Netherlands.

France performs England whereas Morocco, the largest shock of this World Cup, faces Portugal within the different quarterfinals on Saturday.

Brazil has been wild, boisterous and cocky in Qatar, particularly in its round-of-16 sport, the place it performed at a distinct stage than South Korea whereas profitable its means into the World Cup quarterfinals for an eighth straight time. Argentina, in the meantime, has been weighed down by strain since opening its event with a loss to Saudi Arabia that ended the group’s 36-game unbeaten streak and raised questions on its expertise and health.

Argentina’s Lionel Messi, left, and Angel Di Maria heat up throughout a coaching session Thursday in Doha, Qatar.

(Jorge Saenz / Related Press)

For Brazil, the return of Paris Saint-Germain ahead Neymar for the knockout rounds introduced again a swagger and confidence that was ebbing with out him. The world’s top-ranked group got here to Qatar a heavy favourite to win its sixth championship and it has carried out little to detract from that.

So Thursday, its coach Tite laughed and smiled his means via a information convention the place the one criticism he confronted centered on his group’s samba aim celebrations and the impolite means a press officer handled a stray cat who wandered into Brazil’s coaching facility.

“It is the Brazilian culture when a goal is scored. That’s how we do things,” Tite stated of his group’s on-field danceathons, which critics have charged have been ungracious. “We will continue to do it our way because we are not disrespecting anyone.”

Brazil’s solely loss on this event got here within the ultimate group-stage match when Tite rested lots of his starters, together with Neymar, who missed two video games with an ankle harm. With Neymar on the sector, nonetheless, Brazil is sort of unbeatable, having misplaced simply one of many final 32 video games he has began.

And in Qatar, Brazil has put extra photographs on aim than any group and hasn’t trailed in regulation time.

However it hasn’t performed a group like Croatia. The 2018 runner-up has misplaced simply as soon as in its final 11 World Cup video games, that setback coming to France 4 years within the ultimate. Croatia, nonetheless, has wanted further time or penalty kicks to advance in its final 4 elimination-game wins, together with its round-of-16 victory over Japan.

None of that can change the way in which Brazil performs, Tite stated. The group has used completely different formations in every of its 4 video games right here, underscoring the truth that Brazilian soccer strikes at its personal pace and its personal rhythm. It’s one thing that’s celebrated, loved and relished in Brazil, the place it’s known as the jogo bonito, the gorgeous sport. Greater than a sport, it’s the character of the nation; a swaying João Gilberto tune performed with a soccer ball.

“They have their own way. They celebrate. They are festive. I wouldn’t want to see my players dance. It’s a different culture.”

— Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic on Brazil’s gamers

“The Brazilian identity began a long time ago,” Tite stated. “This is our football and that is what we believe in.”

The coach even took a flip at dancing himself in the course of the win over South Korea.

“It’s a connection I have with the younger generation. I am 61 and working with players 21, 22. They could be my grandchildren,” he stated. “If I have a chance to connect with them, I will continue dancing.

“If I have to dance, I’ll dance. But I have to train more. I have a stiff neck.”

About the one one who hasn’t had fun in Brazil’s camp is the black-and-gray cat that leapt onto the dais as Brazil’s Vinicius Junior was answering questions from the media on Wednesday. That drew amusing from the Actual Madrid winger however Brazil’s press officer was not as amused, grabbing the cat with two fingers and flinging it off the 4-foot-high desk as reporters gasped.

Brazil's Vinicius Junior laughs as a cat sits on the the table during a news conference.

Brazil’s Vinicius Junior laughs as a cat sits on the the desk throughout a information convention Wednesday on the Grand Hamad stadium in Doha, Qatar.

(Andre Penner / Related Press)

“You should ask our media officer,” Tite stated when requested concerning the incident, which drew rebukes from animal rights teams. “He’s the one who said ‘go away, go away cat.’”

Cats apart, not everybody has been as free-spirited in Qatar because the Brazilians, one thing Zlatko Dalic, who will coach Croatia in opposition to A Seleção, acknowledged. That model’s not for everybody.

“They have their own way. They celebrate. They are festive,” Dalic stated. “I wouldn’t want to see my players dance.

“It’s a different culture.”

Argentina apparently feels the identical means as a result of whereas Tite was laughing and joking his means via Brazil’s press convention, Argentine coach Lionel Scaloni appeared to barely tolerate his, sparring with reporters who requested questions concerning the well being of his gamers and his technique for the Netherlands.

“We play in our style, in our own way,” he stated. “We need to play our own game and we’ll see what happens.”

Every of Argentina’s victories right here has been tedious and joyless because the group struggles to get Lionel Messi the one prize he’s lacking, a World Cup title. That strain isn’t easing.

“Every game with the national team is a very important one,” Scaloni stated. “We will approach it as we did the previous ones.”

This one is just a little completely different although as a result of it’s a rematch of the 2014 semifinal with Argentina that ended scoreless after 120 minutes. Argentina superior to the ultimate in a penalty shootout, the one blemish on Dutch coach Louis van Gaal’s resume, one that features eight wins and three attracts in 11 World Cup video games.

“Argentina, in my view, is a top country with top football players,” Van Gaal stated. “The tournament, for us, is starting [Friday].”

Simply don’t anticipate him to bounce if the Netherlands group wins.