#LPCelebrazil: week 5
And so we have it: the FIFA World Cup 2014 is over. There were record-breaking goals, shocking defeats and an endless supply of caipirinhas. Our author on the ground Kevin Raub was there to document the highs and lows of the tournament that had the world transfixed.
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‘I arrived in Rio with high hopes for the host nation. Though they wouldn’t get their dream third place matchup against arch rivals Argentina (just kidding – there is no such a thing as a dream third place matchup!) – beating them would have offered some solace for the national calamity that was Brazil’s semi-final against Germany a few days earlier. Instead, they would face Holland. We were watching from a wonderful private viewing “arena” with a dreamscape Lagoa backdrop and not two minutes in, Brazil conceded a penalty; it was all downhill from there. Brazil crashed out of their own World Cup in catastrophic fashion. Brazilian fans became indifferent, lost all hope, and turned their anger and frustration towards taunting Argentines and praying for a German victory in the final. Brazil’s head coach, Felipão, would be out of a job in days.
Speaking of Argentines, there were said to be 200,000 in Rio by the time the final rolled around. My wife commented, “I’ve never seen so many Argentines in one place, even when I went to Argentina!” Everywhere was tinted blue and white – flags, jerseys, painted camper vans. It was quite an impressive showing. The Germans, on the other hand, were far more reserved and in far smaller numbers. Everybody else just sat back and watched the show, which mainly consisted of Argentines singing their anti-Brazilian chant (“Brasil …decime qué se siente… tener en casa a tu papa…” [Brazil, tell me how it feels, to have your daddy in your house]) and Brazilians firing back, (“Mil gols, mil gols, mil gols, mil gols, mil gols…so Pelé… so Pelé…“) and so on. The only German song I heard the whole time was on the metro to Maracaná the day of the match (“Deutschland…Deutschland…Deutschland“). It didn’t exactly have the same bite to it.
Back at Fan Fest on Copacabana Beach, where the line had been nearly a kilometer deep by 11am earlier in the day, it felt like the whole world (and the entirety of Argentina) was watching with their toes in the sand! The aerial helicopter shots were extraordinary. We settled in front of the slightly smaller secondary screen further down the beach. We were so far away, though, that we left at halftime thinking Argentina was up 1-0; we had no idea Gonzalo Higuain’s goal had been nullified for an offside call and neither did any of the Argentines around us. Their celebration bordered on dangerous, so we watched the second half from a bar a few blocks from the beach. By the time this nail biter ended shortly after Mario Goetze’s 113th minute extra time goal, something in the air transitioned from jubilation to frustration, with Brazilians and Argentines getting into altercations at every corner. Once the beach unloaded into the streets, the pepper spray came out within 10 minutes or so and we called it a night.
Brazil, happily forgetting the national team’s performance in this World Cup, slept soundly, pleased that Argentina didn’t win on Brazilian soil (that would have been simply too much heartbreak for this nation to take), and relieved: the world doubted their ability to pull this party off and they threw the party of the century!’