Cameroon vs Brazil World Cup 2014 preview: Brazil prays for a football legacy, not one of waste

Brasilia stadium is a symbol of the World Cup’s excess, costing three times its original estimate

Brasilia

It’s the altar to the excess of the World Cup, the outstanding symbol of the culture of corruption that has left so many torn during this tournament, the monument to waste in a country of so much pain and poverty. Close to the roomy and pre-planned centre of Brasilia, with its neat rows of office blocks, each comprising a different government department, sits the Mané Garrincha stadium. The 288 giant pillars and general size make it a stunning sight, but not as stunning as the numbers behind its existence.

LIVE: Follow today's latest news, including Cameroon v Brazil

Consider this for a minute. Originally expected to cost around £175m, it ran to treble that, in the process making it the second-most expensive football ground ever built, behind only  Wembley. The blown-apart budgets are hardly a surprise when you take as an example that £2,700 was allotted for the transportation of prefabricated grandstands but when the bill for this was handed to the taxpayer, it was nearing £900,000.

Read more: Cameroon vs Brazil match preview
Brazil's six-fingered family
This Brazil side have forged a bond with the nation as never before

And what will happen after the circus has left town is unknown as none of the capital’s three main sides play anywhere near top-flight football and as a result they all struggle to attract even four figure attendances to most of their games.

Yet it all suddenly makes sense when you realise just down the road, some  watchdogs claim 40 per cent of Brazilian congressmen have criminal cases pending against them and construction companies are some of the biggest political contributors. In fact, the company responsible for the Mané Garrincha, Andrade Gutierrez, donated more than £20m after it was awarded contracts for about a quarter of World Cup stadia, a jump from £43,000 in 2008.

It’s about as subtle as a David Luiz tackle. That’s why it’s such a contrast tonight as the Brazil so beloved by the people comes together with the Brazil so despised by its masses. And it’s why there’s been even greater pressure on the side to not just win, but to do it in some style.

President Dilma Rousseff’s celebration in the stands during the opening outing may have been partly down to patriotism but it was also partly down to relief. Local wisdom says that if the team excels, it’ll sooth the mood here for a little while and that should be remembered when judging everything from  Neymar’s goal in the opener with Croatia to the goalless draw with Mexico.

The context of it all is important. Brazil have done just fine thus far given the weight of not just sport but also politics and vast social issues that rest on the side’s shoulders.

 

You got the feeling that being pre-tournament favourites was more to do with being hosts and the flaws of others than their own strengths because this is a Brazil side with some serious issues.

The limitations of striker Fred, in particular, mean there’s a need for the trio behind him to excel. Neymar can’t afford average days, Oscar can’t afford off days and Ramires can’t afford to be left on the bench as all must create come the second round.

As for Monday’s game with Cameroon, it’s hard to  imagine anything other than the shackles coming off and the goals flowing, to the point where top-spot in Group A is assured with a performance more synonymous with the Brazil of the past rather than the structured, defensively efficient side of the present.

Brazil striker Neymar Brazil striker Neymar  

You can say that with a degree of certainty because of the opposition. If Cameroon take another thumping like last time out against Croatia, they’ll have lowered themselves into the bracket of North Korea 2010, Costa Rica in 2006 and Saudi Arabia 2002. They’ve been that bad.

Losing is nothing new for them as, since Roger Milla and Italia ’90, they’ve won just once in 14 games at the World Cup finals. But it’s the way they’ve conducted  themselves that has been so disturbingly poor.

From delaying their arrival in order to try and get more money out of the national  association to Benoît Assou-Ekotto butting heads with team-mate Benjamin Moukandjo, some sources have even  suggested this could be a high-risk game in terms of betting  patterns because the Africans have nothing left to lose.

But they have nothing left to win either and in an arena of excess, expect the hosts to finally excel.

News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
people

Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?

Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch
tv

Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into conflicts
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'
film

"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier

Arts and Entertainment
Liam and Zayn of One Direction play with a chimpanzee on the set of their new video for 'Steal My Girl'
music

Animal welfare charities have urged the boy band to cut the scenes

News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
News
peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
Sport
Erik Lamela celebrates his goal
football

Argentinian scored 'rabona' wonder goal for Tottenham in Europa League – see it here

Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
News
i100
News
Mario Balotelli has been accused of 'threateningly' telling a woman to stop photographing his Ferrari
peoplePolice investigate claim Balotelli acted 'threateningly' towards a woman photographing his Ferrari
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Anderson plays Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders series two
tvReview: Arthur Shelby Jr seems to be losing his mind as his younger brother lets him run riot in London
Voices
Don’t try this at home: DIY has now fallen out of favour
voicesNick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of it
Arts and Entertainment
Miranda Hart has called time on her award-winning BBC sitcom, Miranda
tv
Sport
Phil Jones (left) attempts to stop the progress of West Bromwich Albion’s James Morrison on Monday
Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo, writes Paul Scholes
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker