What ever happened to the Brazil of a decade ago?
The mesmerising ingenuity of a nation born on football has slowly tarnished over the years.
But if there’s one thing (apart from the assumed gold medal) that they can take from the Olympic football tournament, it’s that they are back – and they are here to stay.
Whether their current FIFA World Ranking position is strangely justifiable or just evidently absurd, it shouldn’t bother them – they know what the future has to hold.
Ranked in eleventh, below Denmark and Croatia and only marginally above Greece – the Brazilians would appear to have lost their distinctive, samba spark.
But if you thought we’re still going to be fearing the Spanish in the coming years, I warn you now that it’s the South Americans that we should be far more worried about.
Everyone saw them leave Team GB absolutely humiliated at the Riverside last Friday night and many have seen the rest of their fixtures fulfilled with commandingly magical displays.
Strolling to victories against Egypt, Belarus and New Zealand, their side demonstrates incomparable depth and unparalleled quality at this Olympic games.
In recent years they have dominated the South American youth football scene and that dominance is slowly translating into the senior side.
Since the days of Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Rivaldo, they’ve struggled to produce the sort of extraordinary talent that has seen them almost monopolize the world rankings for the past twenty years.
But this crop of under 23s (and the three overage players) are showing promise like no other.
Forget Hamish Bond and Eric Murray, or perhaps Tom Daley and Peter Waterfield, there is no doubt that Brazil have uncovered the most exciting partnership of this Olympic games.
Neymar and Oscar have lit up the games with their imaginative, extravagantly exotic displays and will undoubtedly be prominent figures in Brazil’s return to the top come 2014.
At only 20-years-old, Neymar has already grabbed over 100 senior goals for his club Santos and has been described as better than Lionel Messi by Brazilian legend Pele.
Oscar may not have had that level of appraisal but is well on his way to justifying his reported £25 million price tag following his move to Chelsea this summer.
The attacking midfielder is viewed as one of the country’s most exciting talents and is slowly living up to his scarily expensive price-tag.
Partner them with the likes of Alexandre Pato, Ganso, Lucas Moura and Leandro Damaio, considering they are all still 23 years of age or under, and you’ll soon realise that there is every reason to expect Brazil to return to the top of the game very, very soon.