Friday, 15 August 2014

Brazilians and Football

Now that the excitement of the world cup is over, I'm going to write a bit about football (no, not soccer.)
For anyone who's been living in a cave for the past 60 or so years, Brazilians tend to really like (love? obsessed by?) football and are usually fairly good at it.  There has to be some talent to win the World Cup five times; more than any other country.  Of course not everyone likes football (I've met two, maybe three people that don't particularly like it) but there are enough fans to support a broad generalisation or two.

Now, if whilst in that cave you have been hiding under a big rock for the past couple of months, you might have missed the 2014 World Cup, which was hosted by Brazil for the second time.  I have already written about the mixed feelings I had to the World Cup and why my wife and I didn't go ( so I won't go into that here, but of course we got into the spirit and watched as many games as possible.  I'm going to just gloss over England's performance (AAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!) and move onto Brazil.  Some people picked out Argentina as favourites to win, some Spain, some Germany... I fancied Brazil's chances: a young team on home soil, fresh from a Confederations  Cup victory in 2013, it was theirs to lose.  And they managed that spectacularly.

I was in England for the semi-final against Germany, so I watched the game with beer in hand.  With no Neymar and no Tiago Silva, it was never going to be easy but it takes 11 men to form a team, surely these 11 could do it?  When the first goal went in, I thought "never mind, there's still time."  The second was a shock, but I've seen teams recover from worse.  Once the third went in, I had no idea what I was watching, they were disintegrating.  By five nil, the result was a foregone conclusion.

The media had a field day.  7-1 was everywhere - triumphant Germans, distraught Brazilians, tears streaming down their faces, the entire nation was devastated...

Or were they?

While everyone I spoke to was certainly disappointed (what football fan wouldn't be?) the truth is they had lost a match and exited from the World Cup - never mind, you can't win them all, better to lose to a good team.  Practically every Brit or American I've spoken to has asked how my wife felt about the result and my answer was always the same.  I show them this short video that was sent to me by three different Brazilians halfway through the second half...

No matter how you look at it, that is NOT uncontrollable grief!  That is seeing the funny side and having a laugh about it and that is what I love about Brazil and its people.  The next day, a friend re-tweeted a comment about predictions for the Netherlands vs Argentina match: "somehow, Germany wins!"

Old Brazilian gives his replica
World Cup to some German fans
Then in the final between Germany and Argentina; of course everyone was watching the match.  Were they supporting their South American hermanos of Argentina? Hoping for some revenge and the cup at least remaining in the continent?  Were they hell!  The semi-final was one game, but the footballing rivalry with Argentina runs deep!

So this may have been a post about football, but maybe it was a post about the spirit and sense of humour of the Brazilian people.