Brazil’s Qatar World Cup opener and ghosts of 1930

Brazil's Neymar during a training session at the Al Arabi SC Stadium, Doha, Qatar on 20 November, 2022Reuters

Has Brazil ever lost their opening match of the FIFA World Cup?

The answer to this question is, yes. They have suffered defeat in their World Cup openers, not just once but twice.

But football fans can’t be blamed if they don’t remember those defeats as they happened almost a century back, in the first two editions of the football World Cup, way back in 1930 and 1934 against Yugoslavia and Spain respectively.

Brazil's Neymar and Dani Alves share a light moment during training

Since then, Brazil has taken part in all of the following 19 editions of the World Cup, played the final on seven occasions, won the cup a record five times but never suffered a defeat in their opening game.

On Thursday night in Qatar, Brazil will put this 88-year-long streak on the line when they go up against Serbia in their opening match of the Qatar World Cup.

Brazil's Neymar with teammates during training

Brazil, the odds on favourites to win the trophy, will begin the match as clear favourites.

Serbia have come into the World Cup with their ‘golden generation’, having topped their World Cup qualification group over Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal side.

Still, the star-studded Brazil side, which has global superstars like Neymar Junior, Vinicius Junior, Thiago Silva etc in their team, theoretically, should outgun them in the match.

Moreover, Brazil have never lost to Serbia, having won both of their previous clashes.

But Brazil fans around the world are anything but relaxed ahead of the match. And can you blame them? As so far, the Qatar World Cup has been the World Cup of upsets.

Argentina was the first victim, when they suffered a stunning 1-2 defeat against the second-lowest ranked team in the World Cup, Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.

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Argentina’s muck up was followed by another upset the following day, when Germany lost to Japan by the same margin to begin their World Cup campaign with a defeat.

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After enjoying fellow title-contenders Argentina and Germany suffer humiliation, the Brazil fans around the world will tune into their TV screens with their fingers crossed when Brazil take the field against a spirited Serbian team.

Brazil’s past record and current form should be enough for the Selecao to shake away all doubts and begin their mission hexa with a win.

However, if Brazil fans take a more in-depth look at history, there is one fact that would add a few more wrinkles in their foreheads.

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The first time Brazil lost a tournament opener in the World Cup was against Yugoslavia, a country that later got divided into six nations.

The name of the countries are - Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.