So that’s it. Today’s the day. Today Brazil
will finally step on a German stadium for a World Cup match, when they
have to play their first group F game against Croatia. No more innocuous
news, no more blister drama; now it’s all about football.
Back here in Brazil, the long tradition of painting the streets with the
team colors is back at full speed; flags are being used on cars, houses,
trucks, bicycles and basically all kinds of commercial stablishments,
from shops to fuel stations. Today’s the day everybody start to believe
and support the hexa dream, and the day we will finally see the team
having to play a real match after so much time.
Today the country will stop - for example, in my city São Paulo, you
will never find the streets so empty as during a World Cup match.
Seriously. You can be on a given street at any time in the morning and
there will be cars and people around. If you’re there during a World Cup
match, however, the street will be so dead you could run around naked
and people wouldn’t even notice (unless it’s a street with a bar or a
big screen with the game on - in that case you’ll see so many people
you’d think the country is hosting the World Cup). It’s a pretty surreal
sight. This shows how much the nation cares about the World Cup - it’s
the only thing that makes it really stop.
However, although many people agree that Brazil is one of the favorite
teams, most also believe that the hype has reach a critical state. Like
Parreira said, no team is a favorite anymore once the World Cup starts,
and Brazil has a lot to prove inside the pitch. Yesterday Zé Roberto was
pretty anxious about hearing Australia had beaten Japan, asking
reporters whether it was true or not that Australia had scored 3 goals
in five minutes. A couple of the Seleção players did mention they’re
pretty tired of training while other teams are playing and winning
already, and that their debut match couldn’t come soon enough.
Thankfully, it seems most of the hype has been kept outside and the
oba-oba hasn’t reached the team. That’s all I hope for.
If anything, we have a lot of questions about Brazil right now. Brazil
does have many of the best players in the world, but does that make the
better team? Is the Ronaldinho Gaúcho we’ll see the same Ronaldinho
Gaúcho who played on Barcelona? Are our team’s defense mistakes fixed?
Will Cafu perform like a 20 year old runner (like he did during training
matches) or will he get tired too soon? Is Ronaldo fit for long matches,
or will he be substituted by Robinho on the second half? Will we get the
chance to see Juninho Pernambucano’s perfect free kicks? Will the team
start in full swing and walk over Croatia, or will it have to start
slowly and gain confidence during the group stages, like it did on 2002?
Can we actually be considered favorites, after having only beaten poor
teams in the past few months? Will Zagallo’s lucky number 13 mean luck
once again? Are we living a daydream, a clever plot created by Argentina
and Germany to make us think we’re the favorites while they’re keeping a
low profile and they’re the actual contenders? Or is the hexa inevitable?
Or even still, like Daryl said on the match preview, with so much hype
surrounding a group of players, how can any team live up to expectations?
Hopefully, most of these questions will be answered during the 90
minutes of their first match. I’m confident the team is pretty good, but
just how good remains to be seen.
Brazil’s blog main man Euler will be playing at the Sugar Loaf at Rio de
Janeiro with his band after the match - I actually can’t think of a
better place to watch the game and I’m pretty jealous of him. Such is
life. Ideally, I would go to a bar with friends so we could drink and
watch the games while we made jokes about Argentina, but today I won’t
have such luck - I’ll be watching the game from school as I have an
important paper due to deliver today (really, that’s totally crazy).
Hopefully I’ll have some pictures to share as some of my fellow cursed
students also stop to watch the game on a big screen set up at our
campus. If you’re stuck somewhere near a computer and can’t stop to
watch the TV while cursing at the referee, be sure to follow
WorldCupBlog’s LibeBlog for the game.