Their manager, Luiz Felipe Scolari, has gone and their pride as a great footballing nation may be on the wane. But certain things remain – like the Opta statistics around who was most at fault for Brazil’s World Cup demise.
Neymar could perhaps be spared some of the blame, given he netted four goals and conjured up one assist during the tournament, and would probably have gone on to contribute more had he not been seriously injured against Colombia in the last eight.
There may also be less criticism of midfielder Luiz Gustavo who, with 23 interceptions, was rated second (and only two behind) Stefan de Vrij of the Netherlands, while Oscar (yes, Oscar!) matched the Dutchman in terms of tackles made, that pair only being bettered by the outstanding Javier Mascherano.
So who on the field disappointed the Brazilian nation most? Was it the hapless Fred, or the equally inept Jo? What about David Luiz in defence? No, perhaps the biggest failure of all in Brazil was the man they call Hulk. For no one during the festival of football this summer made less of an impact than the Zenit Saint Petersburg wide man.
He hit zero in terms of goals scored and assists made. But when it came to unsuccessful attempts on goal, Hulk was quite simply in a class of his own, with 14 failures to his name. No wonder so many were critical of him. Little wonder Brazil didn’t win.
Of course, the only thing worse than one misfiring attacker is two misfiring strikers. But that is exactly what Nigeria had during the World Cup in the form of Ogenyi Onazi and Emmanuel Emineke.
Between them they squandered an astonishing 23 attempts at goal – Onazi accounting for 12 of those, with neither registering a goal or an assist. Maybe Hulk wasn’t that bad after all …
Most shots without scoring:
Hulk (Brazil) 14; Ogenyi Onazi (Nigeria) 12; Emmanuel Emineke (Nigeria) 11.
Stefan de Vrij (Holland) 25; Luiz Gustavo (Brazil) 23; Ron Vlaar (Holland) 21.