A Brazilian’s Irrational Fear of
Argentina Winning the World Cup
They’ve called Porto Alegre the Argentine capital. As my love-hate for that city loses its balance, I can only muster, SHAME! Worse, they said it’s all the color blue’s fault. CHEATERS! I know who’s behind it: Big Red Internacional, who always dreamed of owning the color of the sky.
The game against Nigeria was the perfect excuse to do so (to humble us again, the cretins). While they took over the city, only to stage one more of their wins, we were being told that the old, vicious, healthy Brazil-Argentina rivalry was being called off, at least for now.
Then there are those claiming that cheering for Messi is rooting for beautiful football, and that in the end, it’s all for the common good of South America, you know, hermanos and all that. They don’t fool me, magnanimous phonies; I know what they’re after and it’s not the brotherhood of man.
It’s all done to mortify us, Grêmio supporters. The blue-covered Beira Rio stadium on TV, which thanks to ‘Colorado‘-lover President Rousseff, (there you go, Dilma-haters), has usurped the cup games from the Grêmio Arena, it gave me a funny knot in my throat. Not many red shirts amidst that iced blue sea.
Well, I didn’t spot a striped jersey of the ‘Musketeer‘ one either, even thought some Southerners do consider themselves more ‘gaúchos’ than ‘cariocas,’ which is how the Hispanic networks used to call them little Canaries (they’ve stopped now, it seems). Again, no one use the bird’s name for the Brazilian team anymore.
A TAINTED FEELING LIVES ON
I too was an Argentinophile once, at least culturally, up to the time of their military coup. But a lot of what I still admire about the ‘Platenses,’ Piazzolla, Borges, the pain of lost souls, have always been a cherished part of me, way more than the Carnival in Rio. Now, wear the shirt? I’d rather get lost at La Boca.
I’d wear the Netherlands‘ beautiful blue jersey, though, or even Ivory Coast’s. (Funny that I used to like the Santos FC white uniform, but I think it was religious coercion then.) All the blue I’ve always loved never included the Alvi-Celeste, the one that battered us so badly through the years.
Specially when worn by that evil genius, dark soul Maradona. Again, rooting for him is like rooting for football, et al. I don’t sell myself that cheap. It just makes me jealous, of course, not of them having had him and having Messi now. But for me being absent while the Dutch cover in orange Portinho, which is also how no one calls Porto Alegre anymore.
I’ll live, though. Too creaky to turn down my deep-seated ‘principles.’ No, not humanity, universal love, or goodwill toward human brotherhood. I’ve traded those a long time ago, probably in exchange for some instant and temporary thrill. I can hardly remember, but I think it was all good. No, I’m talking about obsessions.
THE HAND OF AN ADDICTED GOD
Now that few respect the ‘Scratch of Gold’ (do I have to include footnotes? gosh, I’m so old), I couldn’t abandon those delicious prejudices, archaic and politically incorrect, which I’ve worn as badges of honor, vintage uniforms. Just like Alcindo‘s own sweaty jersey, right after one of those now increasingly rare Grenais when Gremistas’d wash their collective soul.
Speaking of scratching, hating the Argentines was always a pleasurable itch, and we still hold hope against all logic that they’ll succumb to the Swiss, a total disgrace for them as it happened four years ago. They too are afflicted, which doesn’t lessen an iota our mutual taste of seeing each other die ever so often.
Hey, after all, I’m well within my right to this machine-gun rant, as we’d at least one unforgettable team which in 1982, regrettably and brutally unfairly, failed to lift the trophy. More than in 1950, so flippantly invoked nowadays, that was the one to level us with Cruyff’s and Co. in 1974. And the Magyars 20 years earlier. So let’s not talk about fairness here.
WHEN VIRTUE IS TOO OVERRATED
But people do talk about it; it has nothing to do with winning, of course, so I just don’t wanna hear about it. Since we’re in it, so be it and let’s win it with a goal scored with our arses, for all I care. For all the embarrassment of the Hand of God goal, who dares to say it lessens the Argentine glory in Mexico in 1986?
Speaking of the Mexicans, who seem to hang tough only against us, let them dethrone the Dutch and then, right after, get kicked out of commission by someone else. And whoever comes to us, let them come already torn to pieces, legs so weaken and spaghetti, that it might be better for them to not even step on the field.
Otherwise, chances that we’ll be showing up at the Maracanã on the 13th are slim – bite your tongue. It’d be cool, oh gee, it would be so great. But the cup is treacherous, and with our half-deflated ball, we’d better prepare buckets for tears and a string of wailing fits: we may need to curse like sailors sinking to the bottom.
NURTURING A NATIONAL DELUSION
That is, IF, right? I’m not quite ready to give up on this insanity. And at least, there’s some consolation in knowing that, even if we’re not there – shut up, Valdemar – our ultimate tragedy is adjourned: with Italy out, no one can tie our five-time wins, our mystical Penta, standing strong and out of reach of our adversaries.
Those who’d hoped that this cup would kick our habit of believing in the Seleção Brasileira, may need to go into rehab pronto: whatever the outcome, we still have four years of agonizing vigil until our endgame arrives. Who knows if Messi will still be the magician he’s now. Until then, we’ll have time to grow a few more Neymarzinhos.
* Pelé & Maradona