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Worshipped from every direction, Brazil are the coolest kids in school.
But it's surprising how much time they spent fighting and failing, like playground bullies.
Their first international was in 1914 against the mighty Exeter City and they thrashed that
assortment of miners and farmers 2-0.
Glowing with pride, they signed up for the first World Cup but it was Fs all round for
the samba princes, who didn't even make it past the groups.
Come the next World Cup in Italy, a dispute between Brazil's two FAs meant that half the
best players didn't even get on the boat.
Spain swiftly demolished what was left of their team and it was a long walk up the gangplank
1938 saw their first minor taste of success but then...
By 1950 everything looked poised for Brazilian brilliance. Home turf, no boat trips, a series
of ridiculous wins.
But in the World Cup decider, Uruguay beat them 2-1.
A childish Brazil labeled their goalie a jinx and banned him from even commentating on games.
Humiliated by their rivals, Brazil then had a national competition to find themselves
a new strip.
But come the next cup, it was still a little schoolyard for the samba bullies.
Their quarter final against Hungary saw more casualties than a year 11 pile on.
After the game a bitter Brazil raided Hungary's changing rooms to really finish them off.
But as the 1950s edged sadly out of the door, an era began that could match all the pomp
and splendour of Brazil's new kit.
With the help of heroes like Pele and Garrincha, they won three out of the next four World
The rest of the 1970s saw them kept from the final by Holland and then Argentina.
But in the 1980s Socrates, the coolest kid in school, ushered in an era of ***, revolt
and smoking behind the bike sheds.
Brazil played beautifully in 1982 and 1986 but after losing to their neighbours again,
effortless cool was traded in for plodding success.
A dull bunch took the World Cup in 1994 by winning on penalties after a nil-nil draw.
Luckily one player who had read the memo on samba football showed up to drag the boys
through to the final of the next cup.
As a reward he was told to play just hours after suffering a seizure and Brazil lost
Ever sporting in defeat, they launched a government inquiry into what had gone wrong.
All that soul-searching paid off though and a ravenous Ronaldo wolfed down the next World
Cup in 2002.
Since then, Brazil have gone hungry in their last two outings but this year, back in their
own playground, can the Selecao take the cup and save themselves the sulks, name-calling
and shoeings of the morning after?