Brazil seek elusive gold
Brazilian olympic soccer team celebrates goal during warm up match
Brazil's glittering array of international success over the year ismissing just a touch of gold but the country's footballers are determined tochange all of that when they compete in the soccer tournament at the SydneyOlympics, which start on Wednesday.
The gold medal at the Olympic Games is the only major internationaltitle that the three-time world champions Brazil have yet to capture.Their best result to date has been silver at the Seoul Games 12 yearsago but Brazil say they are seeking to go one better in the 16-nation eventin Australia.
Wanderley Luxemburgo's team have been earnestly preparing their campaignon Australia's Gold Coast, cloistered away from the frenetic activity inboth Sydney and Brisbane, where they open their group campaign againstSlovakia on Thursday.
A five-star gold resort near Surfer's Paradise has been their traininghome for the last week, allowing Luxemburgo to work intensively with hisyoung squad.
But Brazil have not ignored the Olympic spirit nor the atmosphere of thegames in Sydney. They made a weekend trip to Sydney to play a finalwarm-up game against Australian club side Marconi FC and booked themselves intothe Olympic Village at Homebush Bay for the night.
"It was the best thing we could have done because it really brought hometo the players the whole spirit of the Olympics and what it means to wingold," said Luxemburgo.
"It has been a huge motivating factor for everybody in our team and theplayers are determined to get back there later in the tournament."
To do so, Brazil would have to ensure their progress through to thesemifinals in the final week of the games at the end of the month.
Their hopes will rest on the precocious talent of teenager Ronaldinho,who burst onto the international stage at last year's FIFA ConfederationsCup in Mexico.
The majority of the squad are domestic based and they have not includedany of the influential figures, like Aldair or Romario, who featured inprevious games.
Just three of the team are based with European clubs but Brazil areconfident, nevertheless, of finally getting their hands on gold.