Tuesday, September 19|
Soccer star Romario left off roster
GOLD COAST, Australia -- Brazil's Olympic
soccer squad got down to training on Wednesday determined to put
a selection controversy behind them and concentrate on securing
the only major title they have never won.
While the Brazilian team attracted crowds of several
thousand to each training session at the 1998 World Cup, the
Olympic squad's first workout at Carrara's Gold Coast stadium
was watched by a handful of fans and around 50 Brazilian
The stadium, formerly home to Australian Rules team the
Brisbane Bears, is now used predominantly for baseball but
provided a lush surface for the South Americans to work on.
Wanderley Luxemburgo, coach of both senior and Olympic
teams, has been under fire at home for his decision not to
select any overage players for the squad. The rules allow for
Central to the controversy is 35-year-old veteran striker Romario,
who pleaded unsuccessfully with Luxemburgo to include him.
Luxemburgo will join the Olympic squad next week.
Acting head coach Jose Candido So Ho Maior refused on
Thursday to discuss selection policy.
"The players here are the only players I am interested in
and they are good enough to win the gold medal," he said.
Brazil's first match is against Slovakia on Sept. 14 -- the day before the opening ceremony -- followed by matches against South Africa and Japan, all in Brisbane. So Ho Maior said he
hoped his squad's early arrival would enable them to be fully
The full Brazil team has won four World Cups, the South
American championship and the Confederations Cup, while its clubs
have won the Intercontinental Cup and world club championship.
They have come close to the Olympic title on several
occasions. Four years ago they led Nigeria 3-1 with 12 minutes
remaining in the semifinals but lost in extra time.
In 1988, with Romario in the team, they lost in the final to
the Soviet Union, following another final defeat to France four