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What Happened To The Beautiful Game?

  • SI.com, Wednesday, August 20, 2008 12:30 PM
"Two red cards, defensive play, zero goals," Grant Wahl helpfully pointed out to Brazilian coach Dunga after his side's 3-0 Olympic semifinal defeat at the hands of Argentina Tuesday. "What happened to the Beautiful Game of Brazil?" His reward from the curator of what Wahl calls O Jogo Feio (the Ugly Game), was "the old hard-man's stare."

Wahl posed the question after what he called "a surprising number of softballs ... from the Brazilian media. If there's one thing I learned a long time ago, it's that the journalists from the world's best soccer countries don't always ask the best questions, and if you want answers you'd better ask them yourself."

Dunga's reply, after the question was translated for him? Mistaking Wahl for an Englishman, the coach said: "The style of this match is the same as our previous matches. Of course it would be better that we scored, but you cannot always achieve everything. It's like [comparing now to] the 1960s. It would be better for England to have the title of the World Cup. But things go the other way around. That's my comment on your question."

Dunga's cattiness was wasted, given that Wahl is a U.S. journalist. But at least it gave the coach the chance to avoid the question.

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