Head coach Mano Menezes announced his team will be staying at its own hotel in order to remain completely focused on the tournament.
With its five FIFA World Cup trophies, eight Copa America titles, and three Confederations Cup triumphs, Brazil is rightfully considered the greatest soccer nation on Earth. However, the one glaring absence from its trophy cabinet is an Olympic gold medal, and Menezes doesn’t want off-field activities distracting his squad.
“There are too many temptations here,” Menezes said.
“Some of the players like Neymar and the others have already been the focus of attention from so many other athletes when we’ve been here and we have serious work to do at these Games.”
Menezes wouldn’t say it explicitly, but the “temptations” he’s referring to can only mean the copious amount of sex going on within the athletes’ village.
U.S. Women’s goalkeeper Hope Solo recently expounded upon what’s actually going on behind the scenes at the Games — as if organizers’ order of 150,000 condoms for the athletes didn’t give away any clues.
While Menezes may seem like a kill-joy to his players, this summer’s games hold real significance to Brazil’s sporting history — not just in 2012.
With Brazil set to host the 2014 World Cup, the clock is ticking for Menezes to overhaul a squad that has badly struggled in recent years and is now longer regarded as the preeminent purveyor of attractive soccer (that honor has to go to Spain at this moment).
At the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the Seleção failed to win many admirers, or games, with a distinctly un-Brazilian like style of play under its previous manager, Dunga.
Brought in after the 2010 failure, Menezes’s rebuilding job began at the 2011 Copa America where he built his team around young attacking talents such as Ganso and the aforementioned Neymar. A quarterfinal exit on penalties was disappointing, as was the disjointed, sputtering display by a nation that traditionally lights up scoreboards with fluid passing and creativity.
That leaves this summer as an important bench mark for the Brazilian boss. Players like Neymar, Hulk, Thiago Silva, and Marcelo will form the bedrock of Menezes’s World Cup selection in two years time. With no qualifying games ahead of the World Cup (as the host nation automatically qualifies), Brazil’s performances in London will have extra significance as Menezes tries to continue restoring Brazil to the pedestal of world soccer.