I wanted to talk about economics, politics and stuff like that, but you know what? I can’t. Why? Because I need to talk about the World Cup!
It happened! Unlike what some of us brazilians expected, it happened! 32 teams, 64 matches, 171 goals which changed my country’s atmosphere completely for one month.
Before June 12, there was little hope the event would turn out to be successful. People were saying the stadiums weren’t ready, our transportation system would not function properly… in other words, they were saying the event would be a huge disaster and that it’d give a bad impression of us to visitors.
I’m not saying everything was perfect. We have to consider that many people were on vacation during the event (and it contributed a lot in many ways), some stadiums weren’t actually totally ready and the security system had to be increased (a lot, I have to say). Maracanã was invaded by fans, there were some instability at the Fan Fests, (a player was bitten). However, none of these ruined the event.
Ok, now my opinion about the games:
The best part of the World Cup was the Group Stage. I mean, that’s when we had the most interesting games, such as Netherlands vs Spain, Brazil vs Mexico, all Colombian games, all of Costa Rica’s games, all of the USA’s games (go Tim Howard!), and so on. And we also had a beautiful mash-up of people! Different countries, different backgrounds, all of them together, watching football (or soccer, if that’s your preference) games and having fun! (I watched them all at home and even I felt the changing atmosphere!)
Then, Round of 16 made us brazilians almost have heart attacks. Brazil vs Chile was such a nervous game (the type I like the most) that I couldn’t even watch the penalty shootout (we here call it just the penalties). Other interesting games were Costa Rica vs Greece (Costa Rica, always Costa Rica!), Belgium vs USA and Germany vs Algeria (what a game!).
During the quarter-finals, the best game was Netherlands vs Costa Rica (another nervous game) and, as much as I admire the NED team, I suffered a little bit for Costa Rica (I was openly supporting them at this point).
And now we get to the Semi-finals. We get to the real disaster. It’s the type of thing that all of us will remember where we were at when it happened, what we did before the game, how we felt about it.
I was home, as usual (I prefer to watch games at home), alone in the living room. My mother was in the kitchen – she’d been making a cake. It was all ok – one couldn’t hear a word as no one said anything, all streets were empty. Totally empty. Brazil was playing and, when Brazil is playing, everyone stops. Everyone watches. It’s like a sacred thing for us, really hard to explain to foreigners. When we sing our National Anthem, and we all sing (for real) together, it’s like we’re all united, we’re all one. We are Brazil, we are proud. And soccer is one of the symbols of that.
(It wasn’t me who made the video, I got the link from Youtube. Game: Brazil vs Croatia)
Tha game started. And, faster than we could ever imagine, it became a nightmare. Yeah, I think the best word is this: nightmare. As we watched it, it felt like, out of nowhere someone would appear on TV and say that that was just a joke, that was just our imagination, that it wasn’t real. But it was.
7-1. A score we will forever remember. (We knew the German team was great, we knew we could lose, but not by a difference of 6 goals!)
I don’t blame anyone. I’m not an expert (far from that), I’ve no idea of what crossed our players’ minds that day and I know they probably did the best they could.
Going ahead, the final game honored the great Cup we had. Both Argentina and Germany played beautifully and deserved to be there.
So, congratulations to both teams. Actually, congratulations to all teams!