The day started cloudy and threatening, but now its almost as if the weather is crying with Brazil tonight.
In all things, Germans are known to be efficient, effective, and ruthless. But this… This was slaughter.
I doubt there has ever been a soccer match like today’s of Brazil against Germany. 7-1, Germany; it’s simply unheard of. This kind of thing doesn’t happen in soccer, but it sure happened today…
All those around me at the Nobrega Restaurant looked absolutely dumbfounded, expressing they shock and astonishment in a mixture of curses, silence, and eventually clapping for Germany’s last two goals cheering, “Flamengo! Flamengo!” (one of Brazil’s regional teams has a uniform just like the one Germany used tonight), almost as if trying to shake off the great humiliation and ridiculousness of the situation. The stadium was nearly silent at the beginning of the second half, as all the Brazilians seemed to holding their breath in hopes that somehow, someway, a miracle would happen.
From the screen that had been raised in the middle of the street, images of bawling Brazilians and jubilant Germans interchanged as the game wound down. Many people had left at half time, recognizing that there was no way for Brazil to make a comeback after Germany scored 5 goals in the first half; those who stayed were hoping for something, anything, to make this situation less mortifying which somewhat manifested itself in the form of Oscar scoring the single goal of the match. Of course, it couldn’t erase the gravity of what was happening, but at least Brazil didn’t go under with nothing.
Now, I’m not a sports expert or commentator by any stretch of the imagination. I do not pretend to understand sports, but I would like to give a stab at to what I think happened tonight.
The loss of Thiago Silva and Neymar Jr., one not allowed to play and the other injured, resulted in a psychological meltdown in the rest of the team. This meltdown, despite David Luiz’s best efforts, caused the team to be disorganized, disorderly, and ultimately, unfit to play. It was amazing, in a bad way, to watch the Brazilian players acting dazed and confused, wondering what was going through their minds. Could the injury of Neymar really have had such a drastic effect? The self-confidence they had had in previous games dissipated almost the moment they stepped on the field. To top it off, the stress of playing in the semi-finals on their home turf must have also taken its toll on them mentally. From the flailing attempts to score to lack of defense, it is evident that Brazil was simply not equipped to play today.
To be honest, Brazil had not been playing well throughout the Cup. True, there were some glorious moments (most of which involved Neymar), but overall this is not the jogo bonito that every Brazilian citizen is taught to love about our soccer players. If I may, its been a while since Brazil has truly been up to its past standards.
Herein lies one of Brazil’s major faults: I believe that Brazil has been resting on its laurels. This, indeed, is a fault of many people and organizations; pride truly comes before the fall. For decades, Brazil has been known as producing some of the best soccer players in the world. It is also the only country to have won the World Cup 5 times and its team is the only one that has participated in every single Cup since its initiation. Logically, now that the Cup was on their soil, they would win. Well… As with any organization, it is important to be proud of past accomplishments but it is even more important to be proactive in striving for the next level.
Please, don’t think I am trying to diminish the efforts of the Brazilian national players. They are all excellent in their own right and their coach, Luiz Felipe Scolari, is known for his technique and capability. But what was missing, in my humble, un-sports-educated opinion, was the sense of a team. There were articles being written about how Brazil had never before depended so greatly on a single individual for success and when that star fell, I believe the light went with him. It never was, as it should have been, about the team.
It was truly heartbreaking to see the tear-filled eyes of Júlio César and David Luiz after the game. Júlio César, I’m sure, feels that he has once again let down his country (the last Cup he made a public apology to Brazil for ‘letting’ the other team make the winning). David Luiz, who tried so hard to pull together the troops was ultimately unable to fight the mentally trauma, left the stadium crestfallen, looking into the stands and mouthing “Desculpa… Desculpa…” (I’m sorry… I’m sorry…). [See his heartbreaking post-game interview here: http://mashable.com/2014/07/08/brazil-david-luiz-interview-germany-loss/#:eyJzIjoiZiIsImkiOiJfOXdjZmluOTdiNGpreDBzaCJ9] I know neither of them will probably ever read this, but I hope they understand that neither of them as individuals are responsible for this loss. They may feel like they’ve let down their country, but they did so as a team – not as a single person. No one deserves to carry that sort of pressure and heartache…
Now, do I believe that if Thiago Silva and Neymar Jr. had been playing that Brazil would have won? No, but I do feel that it would not have been such a “massacre.” Let’s face it – Germany’s team is great. They played well, they played as a team. They were in it to win it, without the added stresses of being at home, losing their best players, etc. But there is no doubt that they are truly excellent.
I feel genuinely sorry for the players of Brazil. Tomorrow, I’ll probably encounter some extremely depressed individuals, but right now there’s a party happening in the street behind the apartment building with singing and dancing; people are eating, drinking, and being merry. It seems regardless of whether we win or lose, we choose to celebrate. Which, once again in my humble opinion, is a pretty great attitude to have.
Brazil has one more game on Saturday to fight for third place. I truly hope they win. As for the World Cup champion… Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.