When Robinho justified accepting Manchester City's offer of a loan move back to Santos it was with the remark that, as this was a World Cup year, he could not afford to prepare for it from the bench at Eastlands.
Scoring twice against Tanzania does not count for much, even when viewed through the eyes of someone whom Pele considered colossally self-centred. But when he scored his second with a gentle header, the boy who found both Madrid and Manchester slow to appreciate his talents grabbed the ball, posed with it a few feet from a gaggle of photographers and drank in all the applause Dar es Salaam could muster, which was considerable.
The Tanzania FA had paid the thick end of $4m (£2.75m) to attract the most charismatic team in the world and apart from goalkeeper, Julio Cesar, who injured his back in a 3-0 win in Zimbabwe, this was the side that the National Stadium and their government had paid to see.
Cesar had not missed an international for two years, though it would be difficult to argue that Heurelho Gomes seized his opportunity with both gloves. The Tottenham keeper fumbled one of the few shots Tanzania mustered and conceded the kind of slipshod goal the only excuse for which is that Brazil were four-up at the time.
Money aside, the Brazil coach, Dunga, had attracted some raised eyebrows for his choice of opposition. Neither Zimbabwe nor Tanzania managed to escape the first qualifying group for the World Cup while Tanzania succeeded in finishing below the Cape Verde Islands. However, since Brazil's first opponents at Ellis Park are North Korea, it is hard to imagine what sort of opposition would have been suitable.
One thing that is known about North Korea's coach, Kim Jong-hun, is that he bases his tactics on not conceding – or even crossing their own halfway line. The Koreans are disciplined and three of the Selecao's five goals came from the softest of routes.
There was a wonderfully-struck drive from Ramires, fresh from a breathtaking season with Benfica. If this was his first goal for the Selecao, it was quite a way to begin and made Dunga's decision to discard Ronaldinho and Adriano more explicable.
Dunga has based this side around a drilled, experienced defence. In qualification the team that usually cannot be mentioned without reference to samba, recorded five goalless draws – all but one of them at home. Sometimes, it was a slow waltz, leavened with some more typical displays, not least the 3-1 steamrollering of Argentina in Lionel Messi's home city of Rosario. Their trainer, Paulo Paixao, remarked that their physical preparations were designed to see the players reach their peak by the third game of the World Cup – which may be very bad news for Portugal.Reuse content