Some 3.2 billion TV audience worldwide, 60 million people packed in a gigantic stadium.
Winning means racial triumph. Defeat is racial shame.
The madness over the World Cup tells us football is a strong culture in the lives of the South American people, notably semi-finalists Brazil and Argentina.
Both countries have strong attachments to their God-given rights to football supremacy in the whole wide world.
For Brazilians and Argentinians, losing the 2014 World Cup trophy sounded the funeral bells, announcing the long period of mourning.
(For us Filipinos, the only national grief approximating that of the Brazilians was the assassination, wake and humungous funeral march of Ninoy Aquino in 1983.)
In Brazil, football is a daily celebration in the alleys, streets, beaches, stadiums and any open space where men or little boys can kick and chase the ball.
Their samba and bossa nova beat are followed by tricky ball handling, to the delight of the Brazilian people. It’s called football samba.
Brazil has won the most world cups, five times since 1930. They had Pele, the living legend.
The year 2014 proved to be Brazil’s waterloo, dousing cold water on their much-heralded championship posturing. Tears are now copious among the Brazilians.
In the semis, the Brazilians became totally exasperated when confronted with a German blitzkrieg, five goals in rapid succession in the first 25 minutes. Many Brazilians took to the stadium exit in tears.
Brazil’s superhero Neymar (80 million Euro earnings as Barcelona’s super striker) was nowhere to be found. He was nursing a broken vertebra.
A “blitzkrieg” is a German warfare strategy used by the German army in both World War I and II to gain instant and total victories.
A blitzkrieg consists of a sudden surge of attack forces using the element of surprise. It employs full complements of combat army, mobile armaments of ground, sea and air for a flawless and systematic annihilation of target battlegrounds.
In the battle between Brazil and Germany, the blitzkrieg was simulated by the combined forces of Muller, Klose, Kroos and Khedira, executing their split-second strikes—Klose and Kroos in parallel positions in front of the goal, with Muller and Khedira in angular position for possible canon shots. All strikes had 100 percent accuracy, catching the goalie flat-footed.
The Brazilian defense became incapable of thinking and acting on their feet. Nadagukan sila! Nasikmuraan sila! Naduro sila! Naglaho ang compiansa at tapang ng mga Brazilians during those 15 minutes of German blitzkrieg.
“Don’t cry for me Argentina” might as well be the song of Lionel Messi (worth 156 million euro as the scoring machine of Barcelona FC). Messi didn’t have that hungry look. He played without fire in his belly. Messi disappointed millions of his hero-worshipping Argentinian fans for his failure to shoot a miracle shot.
For more than two hours, the championship between Argentina and Germany was a classic display of tight defense, constant attacks and patience. The stick-to-itness guarding of Messi was obvious. Messi was not able to finish his power sprint on the sides. His slalom dribble near the goal front was nipped in the bud by cat-quick German ball snatchers.
During the dying minutes of the second overtime, a stroke of genius (and luck) was executed by the Germans. From the sides, a long pass soared. Mario Gotze, the boyish substitute, was in the right place at the right time. He caught the ball on his chest, did a quick twist, and in a split second, volleyed the ball straight into the Argentinian net. The lone Argentinian defense glued to Gotze’s back simply froze.
Gotze’s shot made the Germans the supreme ruler of the football world. The South American pretensions lay in shambles.
Some cultural aspects may ultimately explain the result of the world cup championship war.
Brazil, the romantics, creator of samba music, lost to the German geniuses that created Mercedez Benz, BMW, and Audi.
There could be some primal genes working for the Dutch as the third placers and the Germans as the World Cup champions. The Dutch built dikes to prevent their homeland from receding to the sea, and they cultivate the delicate beautiful tulips. Both Germans and Dutch have Teutonic never-say-die grit and a scientific mentality.
But all is not lost.
The Argentinians still have their scintillating tango.
The Brazilians can keep their sexy samba.
Dancing, after all, is a great plaything for one’s joie de vivre.
We Filipinos can have their canned corn beef anytime.