Brazil’s caravan of angst totters under burden of Olympic obsession | Barney Ronay

A first Olympic football title for the host country looks a distant prospect in Rio after two uninspiring 0-0 draws leave fans in state of despair

“Sem jogo, sem gol e sem amor” was the verdict in O Globo on Brazil’s latest Olympic horror, the 0-0 draw with Iraq in Brasilia. No game, no goal, no love. Just an oddly familiar kind of angst and the latest significant staging post in the theatre of pain that has become Brazilian tournament football. In Brasilia the home fans cheered the opposition, chanted the name of Marta and generally continued the theme of domestic meltdown that has gripped this serial host nation in the last two years. Welcome back, o jogo collapsico.

Brazil may be ambivalent about some aspects of this Olympics, torn in some sections about the sense of something plonked down among them. But football? That is a little different. The peculiar obsession with capturing the Olympic title, the one honour to evade them so far, has been well documented. Brazil picked a powerful, well-stocked squad for these home games. Neymar is, on the numbers, arguably the biggest star at the Olympics. No other player of his stature, no other £30m wonderkid signing – enter Gabriel Jésus, newly of Manchester City – will be detained at this late stage in the pre-season with events in Salvador, São Paulo and Rio.

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