9 Jul 2014

Will Brazil descend into a kind of catatonic, post-traumatic stress?

Even in Germany they thought there was something a little unseemly about last night’s crushing defeat of Brazil. To obliterate the host nation, the one which prides itself on being the spiritual citadel of the beautiful game, the one which just about everyone had assumed would get to the final or even win is almost eerie.

On social media the adjectives were flung with stereotypical abandon. The Germans “marched” “in rampant” formation. The Brazilians were “crushed”, “obliterated”, “annihilated”.  Deutschland über alles etc. Although to be honest it was more a case of Vorsprung durch Technik.


André Schürrle celebrates Germany’s seventh goal with Benedikt Hoewedes, Julian Draxler and Thomas Müller

The Germans played with, well, Germanic efficiency. And although I am not a footie expert by any means even I could see that they  were using the same trick over and over again (passing the ball in pincer movement) to score. The Brazilian defence watched it all unfold like bystanders, almost as immobile as the Brazilian fans who sat like silent yellow mummies in their stands, their faces a tearful smudge of yellow and green.

Germany 7, Brazil 1. World, GOBSMACKED – the shock defeat in pictures

Face paint definitely looks better in victory than defeat. The result will no doubt go down as a curse of some sort. It may also trigger unintended but widely feared consequences. Brazil was never as happy about the World Cup as the world had expected it to be.

I vividly remember covering massive and violent protests last year about the appalling state of public services in a country that spent far too much on hosting a sports event and that is booming mainly on paper and mainly for the benefit of a super rich elite.

Brazil boasts some of the worst income inequalities on the planet. At times it felt as if all that was keeping the country from revolution was victory on the planet. So who knows what this historic defeat will do to Brazil’s self esteem? Will it kill off President Dilma Rousseff’s re-election this autumn? Will Brazil’s economy, which had been sputtering of late, now choke? Will the unrest resume?


Is Brazil once again the turkey nation… great wings, can’t fly? Or is the shock of defeat so great that Brazil will descend into a kind of catatonic, post-traumatic stress? Silent, sullen and supine.

And what will victory do to Germany? The tabloids have been on steroids. Our HEROES, the BILD Zeitung proclaimed in large gold letters while declaring that this was a victory for EWIGKEIT, or eternity, and showing the Empire State Building in Manhattan lit up in the German colours.

More: Facepalm nation – Brazil battered by Germany: the best web memes

Eternity is a big word to use a few days before the actual final. If Germany lose on Sunday, last night’s astonishing feat will fizzle, leaving a bitter after-taste of dashed expectations. If they win the BILD Zeitung will probably replace Christ the redeemer with Angela Merkel on the peak next to Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio. And what will be the consequences of such a victory in what has already been a good few years for Germany? Ask me on Sunday after the game.

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7 reader comments

  1. Enal Posi says:

    What’s the point of wasting everybody’s time with a litany of questions? Aren’t you paid to deliver answers or at least analysis?

  2. Robert Taggart says:

    HOPE SO !…
    Brazil be all too much an adolescent country – still !
    The ‘gloss’ in life (carnival, footy, samba…) means all too much to these people – and it shows.
    The serious things in life (good governance, sound economics, the rule of law…) are all too often beyond their abilities.
    This crushing defeat should put footy and all other such ‘gloss’ into its true perspective – an indulgence which has to be earned – and not taken so seriously.
    Brazil – get over it (this one defeat), get used to it (learn from Blighty !) then get a life !

    1. Nathan says:


      We get over it every single day my friend…

      I doubt you live here in Brazil ONE, just ONE day as low middle class! I really want that you spend almost fourteen hours in hospital clinic to have a urgent medical attention with a poor structure as in northeast, that you put your sons to study in our schools with teachers that don’t recive too much money (or preparation) or government’s support, or as students in interior parts that have to walk 2 or 3 hours to go to school (as I did when I was poor kid living in Sao Paulo), or even take a boat in Amazon River in the dark with crocodiles and piranas to study, or even don’t have uniforms, pens, books or money to buy them… Maybe you possily want that your wife spend almost four hours in traffic every work day, be compressed in buses, subways and trains for 35 working years and don’t have a good wage or property security, that your salary is actually 50% because the government have so high taxes and explores every single formal worker and every single company that want to be legally correct… I doubt you to get out of your comfort in London to help the children that are affected by violence, pedophilia, diseases or criminality… Maybe you want to work here as police in “favelas” (without sanitation or clean water in some parts) that tourist so much love, praying for God to not be killed because you have family or as good politician that’s trying to working for citizens but don’t have power because everything and everyone next to you is in the “elitical-economical-political” system..

      I doubt you to do exactly my mom did, with seventeen years she take courage to help her brothers and sisters after her dad died and went alone to Sao Paulo to work to sustain her family in a rural and poor area in south, sleep in cold floor four hours per day on a newspaper in a rented apartment and eat bread and eggs every single day, and have three pieces of clothes… And do this for almost three years without complaining…

      It’s all beautiful in developed world, you all can dream, the majority in southern line even can’t dream, they have to put food in table and try to be stale in soo much adversities…

      So here we go:

      1. Samba – the people who like do this dance in weekends (because you know, we work, a lot). Not just sama, but rock, axé, eletro, bossa nova shows, museums, libraries, parties, weddings, (you know all those thinga that exist in life – and in the catollic-protestan tradition)

      2. Carnival – We don’t live in Carnival all the year. Actually, arnival is five days. Some parts of countries stay in carnival to receive nothern tourists like Rio and Recife… (they right to receive the money, rightt… they work on tourist sector)

      3. Football – in this part you really don’t know what you saying. Football is suffering a fall in audience and interest in Brazil since the 90´s (thing that Britain is experiencing right now). The majority of people just watch the world cup games, i never watched regional or other international leagues (as british or german or dutch or arabic)…

      These are funny moments of life (my family don’t like Carnival, i hate samba and we like football just in the World Cups) to escape of a day ater day explored and tired of injustices.

      Even with all those thing we’re trying, a lot of these players came out from favela (like Neymar and Ronaldo) and try to give their best to influence a generation to work, to study and to be a sucessful person… They’re are persons that inspires an entire nation – not just Brazil, do a research how brazilian team influences Latin America, Africa and Middle East – (it’s not the football) but the family, the time where you have good time with neighbors and friends, to wake up the next day to work and think “we can make it even in this corrupt system”, “we can won in this world with all these situations”, “we can grow as nation to the victory”, “we can win the war, the hungry, the poverty, the disease”…

      David Luiz cried because he wanted that our nation could have a minute of hapiness, just one moment to refresh ourselves and stay living… Just that…

      Ayrton Senna (the F1 runner) and Anderson Silva (the UFC wrestler) do this too… They helped a lot of people too…

      Things are changing here in Brazil, don’t you remember last year with all those protests… And the disturbs and strikes… Media, Police and government said that was 1 million of people in streets… Guess what, it wasn’t… Was at least 10 million, in ALL cities in Brazil the middle and low middle classes protested together against corruption, poverty, low income, poor public services, high taxes, inflation, high living cost, lack of economic and political freedom…

      1. Robert Taggart says:

        Strewth !
        Where to start ?…
        Ten Million People on the streets ? – in protest at the state of Brazil ?? – GOOD, all power to their elbows, fists, chants… !

        Moi ? – indeed, a comfortable Western benefits ‘scrounger’ !
        Not living in Lundun mind – but Manchester – this be worse to a born Scouser (Liverpool) !
        Samba ? – no chance – two left feet !
        Footy ? – no good at – bored by !
        Carnival ? – no – Country Fairs !
        Wife ? – no – too much ‘trouble and strife’ !
        Sprogs ? – no – doing our bit for this overpopulated planet !

        Your good self ? – wishing you well in your endeavours – but fearing for your chances of success.

  3. Dj Footprint says:

    @ Enal Posi – There are no answers – apart from the fact that the Brazilian team ‘didn’t turn up’ – they played worse than a Sunday League team. As for analysis – there’s a whole (almost) eleven minutes there if you bother to click on the video at the top of the page.
    Matt is merely providing an overview.
    Stop whining.

  4. Margaret Obank says:

    Lovely to hear a few words of German at the end of Channel 4 News. Danke

    Margaret Obank

  5. Dj Footprint says:

    @ Nathan – An excellent post – and selection of thoughts that you put across. Your words deserve far greater coverage than just the confines of this blog.
    I very much hope that the working classes / the ‘underclasses’ – the people forced to live in the favelas because of all the Government etc corruption in your Country – will indeed rise one day, and the 10 miilion will become 5 or 10 times that – and force true democratic change for you all. The best of luck my friend.

    @ Robert Taggart – Sometimes, you make some genuine and worthy comments. This time you didn’t. You quite often don’t see ‘the bigger picture’ – from what is most likely a comfortable lifestyle in ‘Blighty’. Take a step back sometimes – and consider the lives of Nathan et al.

    @ Margaret Obank – It was indeed lovely to hear Matt speak a few words of German at the end of that particular evening’s News – made me smile! Which other UK News programme would do the same, other than C4 News? (None). Another reason why i rate it far higher than any other ‘News’ Channel.

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