Brazil x Netherlands

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On July 2 2010 20,000 Brazilians gathered in Fifa Fan Fest Rio de Janeiro, on Copacabana beach. Many people were turned away within an hour of the gates opening and even though it was relatively early morning the spirits were high. Yellow, green and blue were everywhere, and everyone was anxious, nervous.

The first goal made hearts jump and pride for Robinho’s beautiful move was everywhere. Running, with open arms, thanking the cheering fans, maybe Robinho thought the game was won. Big mistake.

This might be one of the biggest problems with the Brazilian team. So much can happen in 90 minutes, so why is it that when one goal is in the Brazilians stop trying? It was clear the game could be turned around, as it easily was, so why not be more careful? From the first half to the second half of the game, things can change quickly. My heart, as a fan, was tight all through the first half, even after the goal.

It’s amazing how football matters in this country. It’s sad to say, but it’s all we have. It is the only event in which everyone is one, unified, for the national glory. The only event I can compare it with is when I was in Times Square on the day President Obama was sworn in. Americans were stood there, watching the future of their country come together as one – that would never happen in Brazil. The government is so corrupt – and it has been excessively so because of Lula – for so long no one believes in politics anymore.

Fifa Fan Fest was a proof of how football is all we have; when Obama was sworn in, people were tearing up, cheering, proud. When Brazil scored against Holland, we were all brothers, happily walking towards one goal.

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Brazilian football fans, defeated after the match.

When it was official that we had lost, Rio da Janeiro seemed to have had its heart broken and destroyed. There was not a soul smiling, it felt as if a bit of our hearts had been torn away. A man just sat on the sand and stared at nothing, probably trying to understand what happened. Another man crossed off the Brazilian coat of arms on his shirt and wrote SHAME in big letters beneath it.

I was wearing my official yellow Brazilian jersey and got drunken comments all day; “Take that off, we are a fucking failure”, “We’re not champions!”, “You better start supporting another team, love”.

Still in Copacabana, green and yellow shirts were on sale for one real. That’s approximately USD$0.60 or £0.40.

That’s how much we’re worth, apparently, without a World Cup.

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