Brazil's failure to strike gold in the men's Olympic final brought home the sobering realisation of how difficult it is going to be for the 'Canarinhos' to win the FIFA World Cup in less than two years.
The Brazilians were hot favourites to win the Olympic tournament after scoring three times in every match leading up to the final at Wembley but they crashed to a 2-1 defeat to Mexico.
The South Americans later admitted that they were under enormous pressure to win gold for the first time in their history.
Brazil's team had enough quality to win but it simply did not turn up in a poor final.
When you see guys like the usually impeccable Thiago Silva, the influential Oscar and the exciting Neymar play well below their best and the whole team struggling to find any rhythm and mount any serious challenge on Mexico's defence, you wondered if Brazil had the right mindset to match the country's massive expectations.
And if you thought that this weight of expectation was a considerable burden on Brazil in the last two weeks, wait till the 2014 World Cup starts on home soil.
The five-time world champion has already been touted as the team most likely to dethrone all-conquering Spain.
Brazil as always is tough enough to beat anywhere in the world … in its own back yard it would have to be just about unstoppable.
When the 2014 tournament kicks off in 22 months, there will be no doubt among millions of followers of the game outside and inside Brazil that the 'Selecao' will be the team to beat even though the much vaunted Spaniards are world and European champions.
Brazil's flamboyant fans will give their heroes a massive lift but the home factor can be a double-edged sword.
History teaches us that home advantage can so easily become a disadvantage to players who are unable to cope with the pressure of having to win at all costs.
Some teams thrive on pressure, others don't handle it well at all.
The most glaring example came in the 1982 World Cup in Spain when the home side could not perform anywhere near its best and cut a poor figure before being bundled out of its own tournament before the semi-final stages.
Mano Menezes's Brazil will be under enormous scrutiny from the country's demanding fans and unforgiving media and the pressure surely will intensify now that Brazil's quest for Olympic gold has ended up with the all too familiar feeling of failure.
This will be the second time the World Cup is held in Brazil.
The 1950 tournament was seen as an opportunity for the Brazilians to win their maiden world championship but after reaching the final in Rio de Janeiro they crashed to Uruguay 2-1 in one of the biggest shocks in football history.
It was a classic choke from a classic team in front of a world record crowd of 200,000 at the Maracana Stadium.
Brazil's defeat was even more remarkable because it needed only a draw to win the trophy.
The match was not a 'final' as we know it but actually the last match of a four-team round-robin that also involved Sweden and Spain.
The Brazilians took the lead in the second half but the gritty Uruguayans, showing true 'Charrua' spirit, turned the match with two late goals.
The majority of Brazilian fans who will follow their team's quest for a sixth world title in 2014 were not even born when Brazil crashed so spectacularly to the Uruguayans.
However the fact remains that, like it or not, 'Uruguay 1950' is very much part of Brazil's chequered football history, in much the same way as 'North Korea 1966' still haunts Italy and 'Iran 1997' does likewise to Australia.
Brazilian football's darkest hour will not be lost on the modern-day Ademirs, Chicos and Zizinhos who will carry the hopes and dreams of a football-mad nation on their shoulders.
Forget jogo bonito, Brazil's bid to land the 2014 title will largely depend on how it handles the massive pressure of home expectation.
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