MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 9 July) – Had the stadium collapsed, the Brazilian fans who watched the home team lose the semi-final match of the FIFA World Cup to Germany would not have minded. For a soccer-crazy nation like Brazil, which had dreamt of winning a sixth World Cup title on its own soil, the humiliating 7-1 loss was a fate worse than fate.
Many Brazilians openly cried like kids being deprived of their favorite toys. Others mourned in a more dignified manner, shedding silent tears that moistened their national flag-inspired outfits of green, yellow and blue. The scenes all over Brazil looked like a disaster like super typhoon Yolanda had ripped through the country and laid it to waste. Why, they could have flown their flag at half-mast, if only to emphasize the magnitude of their heaviest World Cup loss ever.
Even before the end of the first half, which saw Germany enjoying an insurmountable 5-0 lead, many Brazilian fans had started leaving the arena in shame, disgust and disbelief that the home team could lose in such a lopsided manner. After all, this isn’t basketball where a 20-point lead can be erased in a few minutes. This is soccer where scoring a goal is like getting your hand to the Golden Fleece.
That’s why I’d always treasure that goal I made via the penalty shootout during an intramurals championship match in college. It was the first – and last – goal I made. But I have a ready excuse for that: I was mainly a defensive player manning the fullback position, haha.
Back to Brazil’s loss to Germany, I do believe it’s the more important story of the 2014 World Cup than the outcome of the finals itself. Whoever wins between Germany and its opponent (either Argentina or Netherlands) will be overshadowed by this stinging home loss not only for its sheer impact on the collective sporting (read soccer) psyche of Brazil but also because preparations for the tournament cost its government billions of dollars amid the dismal state of its social services.
Yet, like other global sport events, the pomp of the World Cup somehow muted questions on government responsiveness to more pressing needs. This is Brazil, home of the Mardi Gras, and who are we to say the Brazilians should have spent their taxes on social services and not on fleeting spectacles? And with Christ the Redeemer watching above Rio, Brazil threw a party that Germany spoiled in devastating fashion.
Now that Brazilians are already out of fantasia and back into the real world it would be interesting to see how the failed dream for a sixth World Cup title will affect the political landscape. This time perhaps President Dilma Rousseff will have to face a challenge more daunting than dealing with the protests before the tournament – convincing Brazilians that hosting the event had been worth it when she hits the campaign trail for the October election.
Was Rousseff’s action similar to President Aquino’s move to release billions of pesos under the Disbursement Acceleration Program to lawmakers for projects and programs that are yet to be fully explained? Was it worth it despite unresolved questions on how huge amounts of people’s money have been spent via the scandal-ridden Priority Development Assistance Fund?
Maybe it’s time to show this administration the red card.
(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. H. Marcos C. Mordeno can be reached at email@example.com.)