Silvia Neid and Pia Sundhage

Why it was not a surprise to see Germany and Sweden in the Rio 2016 Olympic Final

For those of you who follow women’s football, it was not a surprise to see Sweden and Germany, who after both not impressed in the first matches, went on to become finalists of the Olympic games. What was also not a surprise, was to see Brazil being eliminated despite its “good” campaign beginning.

The main difference between the Brazilian team and the two European teams is the importance that their own football confederation give to them.

Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) created the coaching staff of Brazilian women’s national team composed only by men and copying the same values and formats of male teams. Whereas Sweden and Germany, who both have great tradition in women’s football with strong and consolidated national leagues, preferred to invest in coaching staff made up with female former players with an enviable history of titles in their career.

So, it was not a surprise for those who follow women’s football to see Pia Sundhage (Olympic Gold Medal: 2008, 2012) and Silvia Neid (FIFA Women’s World Cup: Winner 2007) leading their national teams to the Final Olympic match.

Quoting one of my twitter friends “- It is not enough understand football, you have to understand women’s football!”

As a Brazilian and fan of women’s football, who has followed the sport for years, it was very frustrating to see my team lose playing at home. But it was not unexpected for me after the Brazilian’s recent results and their poor campaign in Canada’s World Cup in 2015.

The country had a great opportunity to make history and win a gold medal at home with the women’s national team, but due to sexism and conservatism preferred to invest in the wrong choices.

While CBF does not empower their women, supporting and employing former players such as Sissi, Juliana Cabral, Emily Lima among others, and continually refusing to learn from other countries, they will persist in failing in the development of modality in Brazil.

As I write this article, someone just posted on social media that CBF will maintain the same old coaching staff.

They do not learn …. they do not care.

I am still dreaming of a women’s football world with more Silvias, Pias, Asakos, Veras, Jills, Emmas, Amelias …and with a crowded Maracana, celebrating women’s football.


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