Google+ Badge

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Brazil 2014: An Expensive and Fruitless Exorcism

La plume de ma tante
Taunting the exorcist
As exorcisms go, this has been one of the most expensive in history, at the tune of well over 11 billion dollars no less. That cost is now only a very minute part of the bad news.
For well over 64 years now, Brazil has been burdened with the Maracanazo, the 2-1 defeat inflicted by Uruguay in the finals of the 1950 FIFA World Cup.  
The neighboring country, one must remember, was the one responsible for a 6-0 drubbing of Brazil some 30 years before —until then the most lopsided loss ever by a Brazilian national team.
To add, if you wish, insult to injury, because of the format adopted for the 1950 World Cup all the home team needed was a tie to crown themselves world champs.
Just about any account you read of that fatidic date will mention suicides happening in Brazil in the wake of the upset.
This is not, mind you, just Brazilian history or football lore.
Fast forward to 2014.
With Brazil nowadays not only a regional but also a global economic power and having won the trophy on five different occasions, the 2014 World Cup was obviously meant to be the chance to exorcise the demons of 1950.
That it would also highlight Brazil’s status as the preeminent football power in the world with an unprecedented sixth World Cup would only be the icing in the cake.
Germany’s 7-1 thrashing of the Brazilian team at Belo Horizonte on Tuesday did more than just make the expensive exorcism go to waste.
Instead of vanishing, the Maracanazo has now been augmented by the Mineiraoazo.
Whether another 64 or more years will be needed to erase the memories of both failures is something that time will tell.
Because they involve a confrontation that can only admit a winner, sports competitions inevitably invoke comparisons with war and armed conflict.
However judgmental one would wish to be one thing should be quite clear: Only Brazilians know how bad this feels to them.
At the individual level, perhaps, one might want to compare it to the presumptive suitor who’s not only told “Thanks, but no thanks” but also asked, “What if people see us together?”
Multiply that by 200 million and then you might have a rough idea of what Brazilians might be feeling now.

No comments:

Post a Comment