17 November 2019
Relax, guys. There's only a nation's hopes riding on Brazil's shoulders. Photo: Reuters
Relax, guys. There's only a nation's hopes riding on Brazil's shoulders. Photo: Reuters

Brazil calls in psychologist to help tackle mind games

We’ve all been there. The roar of the crowd, the weight of expectations on our shoulders, the chance to make history in the only sporting activity that counts to our people. Yes, hello stress, that uninvited bad guest to what should be the time of your life, whether it’s the final set in the local squash championships or the last rotation in an Eastern European rhythmic gymnastics tournament.

For Brazil, the only game in town is soccer and the only result that would count is for its team to win the whole World Cup shebang, preferably with the elan and spirited play that has helped the country make the sport its own. As host nation, the imperative has never been greater.

Little wonder then that Brazil manager Luiz Felipe Scolari has called in a psychologist to help put some minds at ease ahead of the team’s do-or-die encounter Friday, according to Yahoo Sports.

Scolari drafted long-time collaborator sports psychologist Regina Brandão for an “unscheduled” and “urgent” stop at the camp of the Gold and Green this week. 

Brandão has reportedly done some research on the different ways people react to pressure and found that Brazilian soccer players were more extreme with their emotions than Portuguese players and “more prone to distraction related to external issues”.

Neymar is apparently relaxed about Brandão’s involvement and thinks it could do us all good to take a few relaxing words of advice.

Certainly there have been fans that could have done with some mindfulness training. The danger of taking soccer all too seriously was never clearer than two decades ago when a player on a highly fancied national team was shot dead in a car park 10 days after scoring an own goal at the World Cup, helping to send his squad home. Andres Escobar was murdered “following an argument about the goal”, the Mail Online reported. His team? Colombia, Brazil’s opponents Friday. 

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