Limpag: Will Brazil ever forget 7-1 humiliation?

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Friday, July 11, 2014


THE maximum punishment in Brazil is 30 years imprisonment, but I have been paying, for something I am not even responsible for, by now, for 50 years.

That’s what Moacir Barbosa Nascimento said in 2000. Who is he? In his prime, he was one of the best goalkeepers in the world but in Brazil he is known for being the guy who let in the winning goal in Brazil’s loss to Uruguay, 2-1, in the 1950 World Cup finals.

Brazilian fans have very long memories and in 1993, while he was trying to visit the training camp of the 1994-bound World Cup team, he was shunned, for fear that he would carry bad luck.

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Ouch.

What, I wonder, will happen to this current crop of Selecao? Some of them have been blasted by fans for lacking character. Will a victory for third place over Netherlands appease the crowd? Or will the prospect of a must-win battle for third place result to a crack under pressure anew?
It’s just a game. Why should grown men cry over a game. I read over twitter.

The reaction is understandable but for fans and players alike, it’s never just a game, especially at this stage. The World Cup comes only every four years and a spot in the tournament isn’t even guaranteed.

Bob Guerrero put it aptly saying, “Imagine if we lost the Fiba semifinals game by 50 points to South Korea.” That’s how hurt Brazil is feeling right now.

To add to that, imagine if we spent 150 billion to spruce up a couple of stadiums, an airport and other infrastructure and our Gilas Pilipinas got clobbered by 50 points? Would our players live through the shame? Would the fans?

I think the front page headlines won’t be just screaming the word “massacre.”

One man who was interviewed by the New York Times for his reaction I think sums it all for the Brazilians, “How am I supposed to explain this to my grandchildren?”

So, it’s Germany vs. Argentina in the final and this match brings me back to my first ever World Cup final I saw—the 1990 match between then West Germany and Argentina in Italy.

Germany won that one, 1-0, and I remember them taking their sweet time after going ahead on a penalty, passing the ball back to the keeper numerous times that a year after that, Fifa disallowed the backpass to the keeper.

Some say, this is Lionel Messi’s moment to shine, but I think four years after failing in South Africa, it’s Germany’s time to take the World Cup home.

They were too young in 2006—wait four years they say. But in 2010, they lost to eventual champion Spain in the semifinals, 1-0. With practically the same core since that 2006 edition, Germany is peaking just about right.

(www.mikelimpag@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 12, 2014.

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