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.

Follow @mattfrei on Twitter

Tweets by @mattfrei