Wednesday, July 9, 2014

World Cup Soccer Players Kept Me Awake Last Night

I went to bed worrying about something new last tonight.  It is because I watched some soccer on television yesterday.


(This photo was not taken at the World Cup, but passion for the sport of soccer exists at every level.)

The game I watched was (of course) the World Cup semi-final match between Brazil and Germany.

Brazil, as practically everyone in the world knows, is the host country of the FIFA World Cup 2014 this summer. Brazil is a country whose national passion is football (soccer), and pride in their team is like an obsession.  Brazil has won the World Cup five times, and is the only country to have done so.  Pele, Ronaldo, and Rivaldo are legendary Brazilian players. Their names are known around the world and fall easily from every young players lips.  Pride in their team and the sport of soccer (futebol) seems to have been in-bred in all of the natives of Brazil.

Twenty-nine minutes into the 90 minute game yesterday, the score was 0-5, for Germany.  That is a LOT of goals when talking about soccer.  The Brazilian fans became crestfallen, tears were streaming down many of their faces.  The German team is very strong and very good.  The Brazilian team was playing with a disadvantage, as they were missing two of their best players - one who fractured a vertebrae in a previous game, and their captain who had been suspended from the match because of two yellow cards.  The T.V. commentators were merciless, commenting on everything from their disgust over the teamwork and skill of the Brazilians, to how humiliating it was for the players.  I was tempted to turn the sound off so I didn't have to hear any more of what they were saying.  Even German fans, though excited for the records being broken by their team, might have been uncomfortable watching it unfold.  I thought it was a horrible game.

The match was expected to be tough - but no one anticipated the score.  I don't know enough about soccer to really pass judgement on how well Brazil played, but the general consensus seems to be "not well."   Fortunately, Brazil prevented a shut-out by making one goal in the last few minutes, but the final score was 1-7.  The result: elated Germans and a devastated host country.  I couldn't bear to watch the television coverage of the defeated Brazilian players, as their loss sunk in.

It is these men - the team from Brazil -  that I was worrying about last night.  I hope that they can put this experience in perspective, and not be too hard on themselves.  Their level of performance may not have been as expected; perhaps it is even appropriate for them to feel badly about this.  But all of them have had soccer careers of which, up to this point, they should be very proud.  It is not easy to be selected for a spot on a World Cup team. 

I hope the nation of Brazil can recognize their players grief, and support rather than criticize them. I hope the players will realize that no matter the importance associated with this sporting event, it is not the most significant part of their lives. I hope they can shake yesterday off; get up a little less heart-broken today (or maybe a week from today), and be ready to try and possibly fail at something else again. I hope the Brazil fans can accept this loss, and enjoy the rest of the World Cup festivities, for which they have worked so hard to prepare. I hope we can all remember that the purpose of sports is to build character, not destroy it.  I hope all of this because, after all, the World Cup is just a sporting event. Unfortunately, someone always has to lose.


Well-used soccer gear
What would you say to a World Cup player from Brazil after today's game?


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9 comments :

  1. I have been following all of World Cup 2014, and find a lot of the commentators blather a bit too much (aside from Alexi Lalas, whose comments tend to be spot on). I personally did not find the game horrible as I enjoyed seeing how well the Germans were playing. We got to see the perfect example of team play vs individual talent. The Germans have both with the emphasis on teamwork. The Brazilians value individual skills and flare, which the coach failed to shift to what was needed. I'd tell the players that the rest of the world really does not care that much once July passes and that they had one bad day in a life of achievements. Any Brazilian who cannot "forgive" the players is not worth worrying about. Then I'd move on to focus on how well Germany did, not how randomly Brazil performed.

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    1. Kymberly, you obviously know more about the sport of soccer than I do. I see what you mean about the example of team play versus individual talent.I hope that the Brazilian players get the treatments you suggest, and I agree that their defeat should not take away from the success of the Germans. I do hope that everyone will be so kind - including the players of Brazil to themselves.

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  2. I admit that I haven't followed much of the World Cup action - but my boys have kept me informed. I did see the news coverage of the devastated fans, and while I felt bad for them, like you I thought "it's just a game". I hope with a little distance both sides will put the game in perspective. By the way, congratulations on your featured post on Blog Her today - well deserved!

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    1. Hopefully so. Thanks for visiting my post on Blogher and leaving a comment there too, Lana!

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  3. Thanks for the post about World Cup. Just a tip about those who don't live in countries that stream world cup online. You can use UnoTelly to remove the geoblock and stream World Cup 2014 in your country free worldcup.unotelly.com

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    1. Great tip. Final game on Sunday :)

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  4. I guess I would say, "Life isn't about winning, it's about trying your best and striving to improve." I hope they are able to offer sincere congratulations to the team who bested them this year. Unfortunately, in organized paid sport, there is very little sportsmanlike behaviour these days.

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    1. From news coverage I read, it sounds like the Brazil team were good sports after their loss. Just devastated though. I wonder if they will want the team who beat them - or the team from their own continent to win the championship?!

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  5. My husband has been watching this from the start (along with any other sport known to man) and I'm sure with a little time and distance they will be okay. Of course he still complains about a basketball game in 1994(?) when his beloved UK Wildcats were beaten by DUKE in a last second hail Mary shot to win the NCAA Championship! MEN!

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