When the semi-final today started I was nervously excited, then I was upset, then angry and finally I ended completely demoralized. Hats off to the German team, they were everything a good soccer team should be, precise, ruthless, clinical and professional. All those compliments aside did not make the sting of defeat any less painful. In fact at one point during the game I had to turn the TV off because I could not watch the beating my birth nation was taking. However, looking back on the game and the tournament as a whole I cannot feel sad.
This Brazilian team gave it their all. Many are going to point to today’s lackluster performance and say they should have been better and I agree. However it is hard to expect a lot from a team that lost its star player and captain in the same game. Along with that, they held the hopes of a nation for 7 games. 7 games they made Brazilians believe again, believe that soccer would run through the giant of South America. I cannot feel sad.
For a tournament that many people thought would lead to riots in Brazil and would be a security risk for all tourists, Brazil provided the fun atmosphere that it is famous for. The riots that threatened this cup have been kept to a minimum. For all intents and purposes this World Cup is exactly what people expected, a little disorganized but fun nonetheless. I cannot feel sad.
Brazil put the hopes of a nation into 23 individuals. Soccer, politics, economy, and religion are all interrelated in Brazil and during the World Cup one of those carries more weight than the others. 23 individuals and a coach were supposed to return glory to Brazil, save it from political strife, and fix the economic problems. This is a team of boys faced with the tasks of men. They performed admirably. Watch any commercial in Brazil, look at any advertisement, even the music. All signs pointed to Brazil winning the sixth championship. It is not surprising that the team did not live up to those goals. And yet they put on a brave face, even when they lost their star player and their captain. All through the week with murmurings of them flaming out, of being a one man team, they still showed up to play the game. I cannot feel sad.
I like many other Brazilians wished for this to be the year we won the sixth cup. It will not be. I am still proud of my team. They put their heart and soul i\onto the pitch over the past 3 weeks. Unfortunately when the whistle blew for the start of the game, they had nothing left to give. For 3 weeks the Brazilian team gave us everything they had and yet we want to look upon them as if they owe us more. I do not blame the officials, or the injuries, or the coach, or the players. At the end of the day soccer is 90 minutes of 11 individuals doing their best to win. Today that nod goes to Germany.
When the 90 minutes ended and I was fuming with anger over how poorly my Brazil played, I saw something. Every Brazilian was crying, or on their knees praying, or looked completely lost. Oscar crying, Thiago Silva crying, David Luiz praying, Luiz Gustavo praying, Julio Cesar crying, Marcelo crying. This is the look of a team that had given its all. For that I say thank you.
I do not feel sad that we lost. I only feel sad that I could expect so much for so long from 23 people. I thank you for what you gave Brazil. For three weeks you gave us hope when for years we felt hopeless. For 3 weeks you gave us excitement and pure joy in a world that is filled with sadness. For 3 weeks you gave us a sense of community when the world has become ever more fractured.
I am still proud to be Brazilian, you have accomplished so much more than people realize.