The Most Painful of Games.1:13 AM
One important note: I am Brazilian.
Football (take your soccer out of here, USA) may have been invented in England, but it's Brazil who holds it dearest. We and most of the world consider us the "Football Nation" and there's a reason for it. Trust me. We don't take our soccer lightly. I mean, there's always a game going on every week and everyone roots for someone. Our heroes are our football players and our Olympics is the World Cup. So when we loose a game against Germany by 7x1 on a World Cup semi-final that's being played at home, it hits us big time. But, you see, while other places may think that football is just a game and we will recover, while, for instance, England can loose and easily go home and just move on to the next big tournament (in this case, Wimbledon), to us the World Cup means influencing politics, economy and every-day life. Specially this one.
Don't be confused. I'm not writing this as a journalist, retelling facts, or as a critic, pointing out flaws. It's more of a way to relief all the anger and sadness that's going on thanks to the latest massacre and maybe pin point some relevant issues that gringos may not understand.
Politics, Economy and Every-day Life
Let's start with the hard ones. Last year, on July, a revolutionary movement started in the streets of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, rapidly spreading throughout the country (and the internet). In a very poorly worded description I could say it was about how brazilians decided we were very fucking (pardon my language) fed up with how things were going. Brazil as a country has issues in pretty much any aspect of public life. We don't have many things we're proud of. Our hospitals suck, our educational system sucks, our gigantic economic disparities between social classes suck, our economy sucks, our professional prospects suck... I mean, I could go on, but you get the point. "Oh, stop complaining so much, it's better than so many years ago!". Not saying it isn't better. Not even here to discuss that. But, really, it should be better than years ago, right? I don't know about you but I like to believe that society evolves. Optimism is key when trying to not be depressed. My point is, no matter how much better it is now, we're still not satisfied. And we're mostly outraged by how our public money, our taxes are being put to use. That's when the World Cup comes in. As a country with so many issues, there was a huge controversy about how much money was being "wasted" to host the World Cup. Keep this little story in mind, please.
When I say this will all affect the country's politics and economy, I'm not exaggerating. Now, I'm not here to give my opinion on the government or the movements that started last year. But, as a Brazilian, I'm not blind. Truth is that how the World Cup turns out directly affects this years presidential elections. Let me make this very clear: I do not mean to say that the result of the games depend on Presidente Dilma, or that Dilma solely depends on the games. I mean the election will be highly influenced by the games. Got it? No? I'll make it even more obvious. While the public acceptance of Dilma as a candidate has been going down since last year, ever since the World Cup started the President's acceptance has been elevated once again. This does not mean she wasn't already ahead of the other candidates. It just means that, with the World Cup, she was a lot more ahead of the others. And, considering PT (Dilma's party) has been in the government for the last 12 years, and the other strong candidate comes from a party who has an opposite line of governing, this year's election might change many, many things.
You see, Brazil loves it football. And Brazil has quite a short memory and is very quick to forgive if it's convenient. So, while Brazil was winning, people were happy and content, and able to easily forget about all our other issues as a country, because football is a religion, it's what we're proud of. But with our loss, what's bad, becomes worse. We're unhappy so we point out every single flaw in our country, and then some. It's a constant state of fed up-ness. And then there are more movements, more violence, more dissatisfaction. You can logically see how this will influence the election, the economy and our daily life, right? And yes, it is superficial, but it's also pretty much true. We're not a very bright country. (I did mention our educational system sucks). There's a reason social networks are so popular here, we go along with others opinions very easily without prior analysis...
Black and White.
This is not a racial point. It's quite simple. Brazilians don't deal well with grey areas. As our recent soap operas have showed, brazilians like to establish villains and good guys. Everything is considered black and white. And this was easily seen throughout this World Cup. You see, no matter how useless Fred was as a player, he could hardly be named as the sole problem of the team. No, it went way deeper than that. It involved all the players, the high level of dependency on Neymar, the lack of integration of the team and Scolari's faulty decision making skills. And yet, Fred took all the blame, as could be easily felt when he was booed so strongly by the fans in the stadium this last game. The huge amount of memes that made fun of Fred in comparison with the crazy amount of posts pro David Luiz and Neymar showed how black and white things go for the brazilian fans. Which is something I highly disagree with. The fact is: everyone screwed up. We have been struggling since the beginning. Today it was just way worse without Neymar and Thiago Silva.
There were no brazilian matches in the country's biggest and most famous stadium. This is a bigger pain for cariocas, I guess. But I can't help but think about how it makes no sense for Maracanã to have reopenned for the World Cup in Brazil and no games involving Brazil have been or will be played there. Specially since all players see Maracanã as a dream place to be.. Seems completely wrong in my book.
Brazil and Maracanã.
Our source of pride.
As I have said before: we aren't a very proud people. We complain about everything (though we don't allow gringos to do the same) and everything sucks. But football is ours. This is the Football Nation. And we wanted to have at least this win in our lives. At least this one thing to be proud of as a Nation. Something we haven't shared in a while. Our HEXA. Do you know what it's like to hate your entire life but this one tiny thing which you cherish the most? That's what football is to us. And that's what pains us the most. Now, we don't even have that. Because the truth is that Germany deserved that game. Our team was terrible, even painful to watch. We really don't even have that.