Mauro Silva stands as an example of solidity and discipline in a Brazil shirt.
It was no surprise that the former World Cup-winner and Deportivo la Coruna great was asked to join the squad as a guest assistant shortly after former coach – and Mauro Silva’s midfield partner at World Cup 1994 – Dunga took charge following World Cup 2014.
Brasil Global Tour sat down for a chat with the former Spanish league-winner in Rio this month, during which he revealed how deep the Brazil squad felt the trauma of the 7-1 semi-final defeat to Germany.
“It was a very difficult time,” he said. “The 7-1 was the biggest blow that Brazilian football had ever suffered in all its history.
"Unfortunately, it did not go well for Dunga and it ended up costing him his job, as it did [technical coordinator] Gilmar. I was happy to try to be help, to try and collaborate but unfortunately the project did not work out.”
Many of the players praised the impact Mauro Silva had on the group during his brief stint with the national team and his input became so valued that he was asked back for Brazil’s Copa America 2015 campaign, which ended in major disappointment as the Selecao were eliminated by Paraguay on penalties in the first knockout round.
“At [the first] major competition [since the Germany defeat], the team felt a lot of pressure when they took to the field, the 7-1 weighed heavily and they felt a great responsibility, it was still a kind of trauma.
“At the Copa America we saw that the team went through some very delicate moments, you could see the team were quite affected, emotionally.
"I think it was a very emotional time. We can take into account other factors, but there's not one single thing that can explain a disaster like that. But for me, from the moment it was decided that the World Cup was to be played in Brazil, it was clear there would be a huge emotional burden.
“Playing a World Cup anywhere is difficult, but in Brazil, with all the expectation of the fans, it was going to be even more difficult. The group arrived at that moment and just had a blackout.
“We never saw Brazil playing calmly, playing with joy; we saw the team tense, under pressure, moments where the players displayed their nerves, where they cried during the national anthem.”
Brazil appear to have overcome the burden of their recent infamous history, however, after new coach Tite led the Selecao to eight consecutive victories in World Cup qualifying. And Mauro Silva has been impressed.
“It would be great if the World Cup started tomorrow,” he said.
“Unfortunately, there is still some time before then but Tite and Edu are doing a great job. I think the atmosphere has changed a lot. There are other strong teams, of course, but Brazil are in great form at the moment and is my favourite.”