SAO PAULO: In April 2007, Brazil won the rights for hosting World Cup 2014, leaving over 200 million Brazilians dreaming of winning the cup for the sixth time – on home soil this time, which was only fuelled by the team’s progression all the way to the semi-finals of the tournament.
It took only six minutes to crush the dream of millions.
Shock and awe would be an understatement for what the world witnessed on Tuesday.
When the Germans scored the first goal, Brazilians were relatively unfazed; still dancing to samba beats and singing football chants.
The real agony for the Seleção began on the 23rd minute of the game. The next six minutes could be described in many ways but in truth, no number of superlatives can describe what the Brazilians were feeling as the Germans scored goal after goal with apparent ease.
At the end of the six minutes, the score line read 5-0 to Germany as Brazilians watched in utter disbelief. Some were laughing; some just held their heads, while others cried as though they lost someone dear.
In fact, Brazilians had lost something dear to them: their footballing soul.
It was the most goals ever scored by one side in a World Cup semi-final and Brazil’s worst ever defeat.
Even the World Cup scoring record, once held by Brazil’s Ronaldo, was lost as Germany’s Miroslav Klose netted his 16th career goal.Brazilians were humiliated beyond belief and no one even knew who to blame or what to say.
A German fan, who was earlier flaunting his identity, began telling everyone he’s Italian out of fear of being lynched by the crowd.
But Brazilians weren’t turning to violence. There was a sense of introspection as the goals piled up. “The World Cup saved us from massive protests but now we have nothing to hide behind,” said one dejected Brazilian.
Soon hopes for a Brazil win transformed into hopes for an Argentina loss. The thought of their arch-rivals defeating the Netherlands and going on to the finals, and maybe even winning the World Cup at the holiest site of Brazilian soccer, the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, is one that Brazilians will have to deal with almost immediately after being knocked out by the Germans, but for now Brazilians are still coming to terms with their own tragedy.
There were no mass riots or reported cases of violence or fans committing suicide. Life in São Paulo went on.
It would be rather naive to think that a nation of 200 million will seize to function after yesterday’s loss. If anything, the thumping from Germany will likely lead to soul-searching for years to come about what went wrong and what to do right when the next World Cup arrives.
Till then, they will mourn and mourn they will.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2014.
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