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Henry Jacob: Brazil: High-water mark of fiascos
July 10, 2014
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Whatever happened to Brazil on Tuesday? It looked as though these footie wizards of a country which had become a byword for soccer brilliance, style and flamboyance, had lost their moorings. As though they had become paralysed. Where was the aggro, the finesse, the cavalier attitude? Clearly, this was Brazil’s darkest hour. Black Tuesday.

There was a time when watching Brazil was a delightful spectacle, stimulating the senses, not roiling them or sending the system into a panic attack. But whatever little adventurous spirit and craftsmanship it had, was nearly decimated in a 7-1 goal rout by the marauding Germans. The manner in which they kept shunting the ball into the Brazil net was incredible. The German strategy had simply bamboozled them. The Brazilians were transfixed. The world was transfixed. The German tsunami had completely engulfed the Brazilians, making mincemeat of their goals, leaving a trail of disaster in its wake, their dreams in tatters. For years to come, this will be the high-water mark of World Cup fiascos for Brazil.

They made scoring goals child’s play. The battering ram of the European giant had created a huge dent in Brazil’s nationalistic swagger, their jingoistic roar reduced to a whimper. Long before the first half was over, the bells had started tolling for the Brazilians. Tears were streaming down the faces of the passionate fans, even children were bawling over the drubbing. For the Brazilians, football is not just a part or way of life, it is life.

The silence in the Brazil camp at Mineirao stadium in Bela Horizonte was so thick that you could cut it with a knife.

But then, where football is concerned, there is something about that country that strikes a chord among its fans. If Brazil suffers, the world suffers with them.

When we talk of football, Brazil invariably comes to mind. When we talk of Latin American football, Brazil is the first name that crops up. The world connects with Brazil’s heart. When Brazil celebrates, the world celebrates with it. When it cries, the world cries with it. Nowhere perhaps is the Brazilian, infectious charm and fever felt more than in India’s Kolkata city. Brazilian players such as Zico, Socrates and Kaka are household names in the metropolis. Pele is looked upon as a cardinal deity. The kind of frenzy and adulation that marked his reception when the soccer legend visited the city in the 70s has to be seen to be believed.

Alas, the old zing is missing. One can only hope for a miracle to save the cachet of the team.

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