Brazilian defeat will not dampen my pride

Mariana de Paula reflects on Brazil’s World Cup exit

Mariana de Paula


Lift up your head, take a leap of faith. Send this sadness away. Just believe that a new day will rise. Your time will come.

The above lines are a translation of the Brazilian soccer team’s official World Cup song. We never imagined they would prove so appropriate.

It was terrible to wake up today remembering those seven goals, remembering the players that lost and the German side that played so beautifully. I remembered that victory would not be ours this year and that our dream is over. I remembered that we lost again in our home. For those who don’t know, Brazil lost the World Cup final of 1950 in Maracanã. This time we were again humiliated and it hurts a lot.

I almost cried when our captain and defender, David Luiz, said: “I just wanted to give some hapiness to my people. My people, who have suffered so much already. Unfortunately, we couldn’t do it. I’m sorry everyone. Sorry to all Brazilians.”

Don’t worry, David. We are upset, that’s true, but we are here for you. Brazil simply has to admit that we are not that amazing anymore. Only through training can we win. Real fighters don’t count just on luck.

We were not able to perform as well as Algeria did against Germany, or as impressively as Costa Rica did against Nederlands. We had the pressure of playing at home and our home is the Country of Soccer. It was not an easy task. We failed, and that is okay, but we have to see the silver lining.

Our transport system improved. The airports were renovated. New transport modes were installed in areas like Cuiabá and Manaus that had once been totally forgotten by the government. The police were trained to deal with big crowds. We could walk safely around our cities. In Brasília, for example, all homeless people were provided with access to shelters. Public hospitals hired more doctors; as did restaurants, stores, and hotels. Everyone learned English. The World Cup made us face a number of our old problems and try to solve some of them.

Against all odds, we proved that we can host an event of this size. Before it began, the international press had presumed that the tournament would be a fiasco, but after the first week, everyone was talking about the best World Cup ever. Dàvid Ranc, professor of University of Cambridge, even said that the World Cup this year was better organised than London’s Olympic Games.

It would never be an ordinary tournament in the Country of Soccer, not even for our team. Brazilian people nicknamed this World Cup the ‘Zueira’ World Cup. ‘Zueira’ is a slang that means mock, making a joke of something, because the competition was so unpredictable. Traditional teams like Italy, Portugal, England and Spain did not progress past the group phase. On the other hand, teams like Nigeria, Costa Rica, Algeria, and Greece fought so hard that they won our hearts. We joked about this, and laughed about our own terrible defeat last night.

Thank you, Brazil, for the best World Cup ever.

 Mariana de Paula is a young Brazilian journalist. She is due to begin the M.Sc. in Politics and Public Policy at Trinity College in September.