Monday, April 24, 2006

Something Magical

Most of you probably are not aware of this, but in less than 45 days, there is going to be a event of such magnitude that literally the majority of the world will be captivated. An of course, the event I am referring to is the 2006 World Cup Futból (soccer to you Americans) Championship which will be held in Germany. (Over 1.3 Billion people watched the 98 World Cup Final in France)

Brazil: A Soccer Nation
Most of you may know that Brazil is considered the greatest futból country of all time, having won World Cup title and astonishing 5 times! For Brazil, the World Cup is a nation wide holiday. When Brazil plays a match, business close, children are released from school, and everyone, I mean EVERYONE, gathers around a TV or a radio with rapt attention.

Brazil is the odds on favorite this year and many people are already anticipating a 6th World Cup win. But a loss this year would not be the first time Brazil was expected to win but did not. In France 98, Brazil was defeated by the host country 3-0. So confident were Brazilians that they would win that they had already begun to print AND sell merchandise with an extra "star" indicating World Cup victories. (in fact on my first trip to Brazil, I purchased a bandana with one of these extra stars.)

The Fateful Final
But the most infamous loss in Brazil's history happened on their own turf in 1950. That year, Brazil played host to the World Cup. In preparation for the grand event, Brazil built the largest stadium in the world, The Maracanã. So large was The Maracanã that it held a a full 43,000 more spectators than the next largest stadium. This was to be Brazil's crowning moment. Her introduction to the rest of the world that Brazil was here and ready to make her place among the world's leading nations.

Alas, Brazil was defeated by the tiny nation of Uruguay in the final minutes of the match. Many people equate the 1950 World Cup final loss as having nation wide significance much like Hiroshima had to Japan and the JFK assassination to the US. The grainy black and white film footage of the final Uruguay goal is even called Brazil's Zapruder film. has a fascinating article about the significance and the impact Brazil loss in 1950 had on the country. One paragraph in particular struck me as profound:

Second place in a World Cup was Brazil’s best ever result yet it felt like failure. The country never countenanced anything but victory. Loss was unthinkable. “I was motionless, sitting on a concrete step, watching the sun shine obliquely on the pitch, hearing the silence of the crowd, a silence not even broken by the sobs, in brutal gasps, of the collective orphaning,” grieved the novelist Carlos Heitor Cony. “Survivors of that cruel afternoon believed they would never again be able to be happy...what happened on July 16, 1950 deserves a collective monument, like the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. These are the things that build nations, a people drenched in their own pain.”
Jump on over to the site and give it a read. It will certainly help you understan some of the history behind this wonderful country. And of course VAI BRASIL!!! O CAMPEÃO DO MUNDO!!!

Some other Brazil Futból Links:

Futbol the Brazilian way of Life.

Official FIFA World Cup site.

Commings Communiqué (a fellow Brazilian Missionaries website, he has a great video clip about the players in the 1950 final.)

1 comment:

Andrew said...

Hey, I just caught the link. I'm glad you enjoyed the video.