Back from Brazil after the World Cup

So wow! The World Cup was so much fun and filled with so many surprises including Germany’s 7 x 1 thrashing of Brazil.  The important point though is that Brazil, and I have to include the government here, pulled off a very successful Cup, despite Scolari and family being brought back to reality.  I attended 4 games at the Mineirao and it was a very nice party.  It was very tranquil, the tickets were good, the seats were there where they were they supposed to be, no big fights and no thievery except for a few lame pick pockets which one could expect to find at any event with over 50 thousand people.

Overall, Brazilians were less enthusiastic at the beginning of the Cup then I remember but as Brazil progressed in the Cup interest in the games picked up noticeable and the streets became totally dead at game time.  When Brazil got blown away and then sacked again by Holland, there was much grief and crying plus calls for Felipao’s head. But I am not aware of any collective suicides or a rush to get exit visas.  All in all, the football debacle is being absorbed as best as possible.  People woke up the next day and saw the sun was still shining and went to work or to the beach.  Sure we are spending a lot of ink on analyzing what went wrong but prescient football writers such as Jaeci Carvalho of the Estado de Minas have been predicting since 2010 that Germany would win the Cup and that Brazil needs to rebuild and rethink CBF and the Brasileirao model.

It is unfortunate that the news agenda is so heavily dominated by monopolistic groups with vested financial interest.  Due to this, it is hard to think out of the box and come up with an alternative discourse.  Paradoxically, I am at once heartened and disheartened.  Heartened because, in spite of all the nay-saying and negativity leading up to the Cup, the games were a great spectacle for TV and quite decent for those who attended them and participated at Fan Fest events.  I am also pleased, not by the 10 x 1 combined run over, but by the fact that the government and the ruling party cannot really use the Cup now as a political stick to whack voters into shape.  If Brazil had been able to pull off such a miracle, Dilma would have had a more tranquil reelection.  Now, I am only 90 percent certain of her ultimate victory, perhaps in a runoff. (Could she, like Brazil, lose a semifinal?) Ha!!

Football is a proxy for war in Brazil.  The last time Brazil had bloodshed in an international conflict was during World War II with its small but important expeditionary force in Italy. And the last time before that was over a 150 years ago when the Triple Alliance ganged up on Paraguay.  So football is certainly healthier than say the Vietnam War or current stupidity (thanks largely to tradition and Republicans) in Afghanistan or Iraq.  But now Brazilians are moving on.  Gradually, the country is recognizing that security, education, health, infrastructure and democracy are almost as important and come close to the significance of the novela das 21 horas.