by Teofilo Cubillas
Brazil have always been a force in world football. I still have very clear memories of the team that won the 1970 FIFA World Cup, a tournament I was lucky enough to play in. And it has to be said that the current Brazil team has very little in common with the side that became world champions in Mexico.
Brazil don’t have a Pele or a Rivelino but it’s a team in which every single one of their players does their bit. Kaka is just another team member and is happy not to play the main man, which is a real luxury for the team. And even though they don’t have any outstanding stars, they’re still a fearsome unit.
Against Côte d’Ivoire yesterday their great players once again showed that they don’t really entertain that much or play that freely. What’s important to them is working for the team as a whole. Look at Luis Fabiano. He scored two great goals and was Brazil’s matchwinner and he still contributed a lot to the team effort. Another thing that strikes me about them is that even though they’re happy to give the other side the initiative and let them have possession, they can still win games easily.
I felt honoured when Pele named me as his successor in 1970 and if there’s any player in the current side who resembles the kind of player I was, then it would have to be Robinho. He drifts in and out of the game at times and he needs to be a little more consistent, but he can still win games for you.
We’ll just have to wait and see how far they go in the competition. Everyone thought the Final was going to be Brazil-Spain. I don’t think Spain were a disappointment as such. They were just up against a team who really went for it and they (Spain) lacked what Brazil have got now: one player comes on, another goes off and nothing changes. There’s a lot to this Brazil side and they’re a machine when they get going.