In case you hadn’t heard, the World Cup is about to start here in Brazil. As an Englishman living here I am just thankful that England managed to qualify because I don’t think life would have been bearable trying to deal with the build up knowing that I wouldn’t have much of a part in it.
As it is, I am much more relaxed about this World Cup than I have been for a long time. The reason is that I know England haven’t got a cat in hell’s chance of winning it, so I don’t need to worry about broken bones or Rooney’s fitness. I am happy to see a young and exciting England team that might be pretty good in Russia, but is just along for the ride and the experience here. If we can qualify for the knock-out phase I think most English people would be happy.
The same cannot be said for most of my Brazilian friends and family.
First of all there is immense disappointment at the way the preparations for the tournament have been handled. This has led to many people not getting overly excited by what should have been the highlight of many people’s lives. The excitement is starting to rise slightly, but not like I had imagined it would be when Brazil was initially awarded to right to host the competition.
Secondly, there is the fear that they don’t have the team they need to win the World Cup.
It has almost become a cliché to suggest that the loss Brazil suffered in 1950, the last time the World Cup was here, against Uruguay in the final caused the country a lot of heartache. Some people have even suggested that the defeat was at least partially responsible for a national feeling of inferiority that has only started to be lifted in recent years with an improving economy. Most Brazilians are also only too aware that, until Spain won the last World Cup, they were the only winners never to have actually won at home.
They feel that their team is a bit lightweight to change things and finally win on home soil. Apart from Neymar, they are very weak up front and might well struggle to score the goals they need. However, they have a manager who has been through all of this before and won the tournament with a very conservative attitude, and this might well be what the team needs.
A Divided House
Our house obviously has divided loyalties. My wife will be supporting Brazil, but if/when they go out would take an interest in England, if we are still in it. If not, she’ll probably support Spain because they have the best looking players.
My son, who will celebrate his 3rd birthday just after the final, is supporting Brazil and will shout their name out a punch the air whenever you ask him. If you ask about England, he just shakes his head and repeats ‘Brazil!’ I would like to encourage him to support England, but he deserves better than that.
I will of course be supporting England from pubs for as long as we stay in it. When they go out I don’t think I’ll be supporting Brazil right away, instead I’ll cheer for Uruguay if only to wind up as many of my friends as possible.
World Cup for Kids
During the World Cup I’ll be posting blogs about England and Brazil as part a project hosted by Multicultural Kid Blogs that aims to look at the tournament through the eyes of kids around the world. You can find more blogs and ideas by going to the World Cup for Kids page and clicking on the country or countries you are interested in.