My impressions of Brazil’s first World Cup Game: Brazil vs Croatia
The big challenge for Brazil started yesterday with the kick-off of the World Cup where Brazil played its first game against Croatia.
Even though this is the third time I’ve watched the tournament here in the U.S., each time has the feeling of being the “first time.” I get that inexplicable feeling of excitement that every Brazilian experiences every four years.
This World Cup is even more special. It has a different flavor because it’s being hosted in Brazil. Which by the way has created endless controversy and heated discussions. Protests against Brazil hosting the World Cup have erupted all over the country, and have been shown to exhaustion on worldwide news. The issues fueling the fire include the government’s over-promises and under-delivery, the lack of proper infrastructure to accommodate an event of this magnitude, and excess government spending are just three of the hot button issues….However, I don’t want to go there again. Now it’s time to enjoy the greatest spectacle in sport!
The last few months have been a mix of emotions: excitement, apprehension, public indignation and obviously happiness, after all it’s the World Cup!
I’ve been witnessing all this turmoil from the U.S, hoping that everything goes smoothly, and that the country is going to be able to bravely pull this huge event off. I know it will!
It’s not easy to be geographically so far from the event. Luckily I live in NYC, a city so cosmopolitan that I can watch a game and feel that I am in Brazil celebrating with my friends. That’s exactly what happened yesterday at Jim Brady’s Irish Pub. The pub had been converted into a Brazilian bar, displaying highly coveted Brazilian flags* everywhere (I’ll talk about the flags again later), and filled with fans from all different nationalities supporting Brazil.
I am not what one can call a soccer expert. I have to admit I am one of these people that a month before the tournament starts learning the names (and faces) of the players, and all of sudden becomes a real soccer aficionado. This includes but is not limited to shouting, gesticulating frenetically, occasionally cursing, pretending to talk like a soccer expert, and celebrating with a crazy excitement after every goal.
Despite all the pressure and the tense moments yesterday’s game was beautiful! One of the memorable moments was watching the stadium sing a cappella the national anthem even after the 90 seconds allowed by FIFA have finished. Everybody stood and sang!
It wasn’t an easy match but out-scoring Croatia 3-1 was a relief and an amazing way to start this party. The World Cup has finally started! I hope it will be an unforgettable event and that Brazil treats its guests with its well-known hospitality showing the world that we know how to throw a great party!
*I said earlier the Brazilian flags were a desirable commodity remember? Well after using my charming Brazilian techniques to get one and failing, I snuck one of the flags into my jacket and walked out of the bar triumphantly.
Vai Brasil!! (Go Brazil!)