LONDON – Brazil's women's soccer team has accused London 2012 organizers of a "disgraceful" plot that led to its shocking defeat against Great Britain Tuesday.
Members of the Brazilian side were infuriated when they were stranded by the side of a highway for five hours as their team bus broke down on its journey to London the night before the Group E clash at Wembley Stadium. Britain won the game 1-0.
"It was a disgrace," head coach Jorge Barcellos said. "I wasn't impressed; a tournament of this size, and the delay in taking any initiative to resolve the situation was absurd."
Brazil left its base in Cardiff, about 150 miles to the west of London, for its journey to the capital, but the trip was quickly disrupted when the bus pulled over to the side of the road with mechanical trouble.
The driver reportedly was unable to call for help and the squad was forced to endure an interminable wait. Eventually, another London 2012 official bus was waved down, but, according to the Daily Telegraph, the second driver had already completed his hours quota and was not permitted to drive to London without a special permit.
A replacement bus finally arrived after another two hours, but Brazil did not reach its accommodation until late in the evening. A Brazilian journalist told Yahoo! Sports that instead of a typical light training session, the players instead went outside for a brisk walk and some stretching before retiring to bed.
The following night, Brazil made a sluggish start as Great Britain scored in the second minute for what would prove to be the only goal of the game.
The defeat consigned the South Americans to second place in Group E, meaning they will now play World Cup champion Japan in Cardiff on Friday.
Several unnamed Brazil players have been reported in the Brazilian press as saying they believe the delay in finding a new driver or transportation was part of a deliberate attempt to affect their preparation.
"It was unacceptable," Barcellos said. "It is hard for the players to understand how this could possibly take so long. And playing Great Britain the next day…"
Brazilian soccer officials initially wanted to file a complaint to the International Olympic Committee, but were persuaded not to by their national Olympic committee. Brazilian committee members felt it would be counterproductive to inflame the issue with Rio de Janeiro set to host the Games in 2016.
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