Once admired for a style which wowed the world, Brazil's current side are no vintage - even though they could go on to win the World Cup once again on home soil
By Ben Hayward in Belo Horizonte
Jogo Bonito. The Beautiful Game. Whichever language it's in, the expression evokes images of only one team: Brazil. While not always the champions, the Selecao were generally considered to be the great entertainers, the purest footballing side around. Often it was said that Brazil were everyone's favourite second team, while the ultimate compliment to any club side was that "it's just like watching Brazil".
|WORLD CUP SOCIAL HUB
|Keep up with all the latest news from Brazil and get involved in the debate on Twitter with our new World Cup Social Hub|
Even in defeat, there was a glory about Brazil, with the 1982 team still holding a special place in the hearts of Brazilians, despite a second-round exit to Italy. A more pragmatic approach has followed, with Dunga as an ungainly but extremely effective midfield enforcer in the 1994 side and a much more European style about the 2002 winners under Luiz Felipe Scolari.
But back then, Brazil boasted Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho and even a young Kaka on the bench. There was no shortage of fantasy football to pacify the purists. But not now. With Neymar out on Tuesday, this team have lost their one talent comparable to the greats of yesteryear.
In a remarkable role reversal, it will be Germany with the more technical team on Tuesday, while Brazil attack on the break. Joachim Low's side have placed their faith in a passing philosophy to complement a very regimented and organised system - a clear identity from their Under-17s team through to the senior side. Order and Progress.
In the meantime, Brazil have no clear plan. Previously, they never needed one because their production line of talent created so many fantastic footballers but is it drying up? The presence of tecnhically limited forwards such as Fred and Jo in this squad suggests that a broader strategy may be needed.
|World Cup Infographics|
|Uncover the statistics behind the World Cup with our new Unibet infographic series|
"It was worrying to see Thiago Silva and David Luiz hitting long balls to Neymar instead of trying to work things through the midfield," 1982 and 1986 great Zico complained after the Colombia match.
But Scolari said on Monday: "It might not always be pretty or beautiful but we are moving forward together and taking steps towards our objective."
It's far from the Brazil of old and unlike teams from years gone by which are still revered in defeat. For the current crop, only winning will be enough. Jogo Bonito is long gone.