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Saulo Santana
Berlin & Potsdam, Germany

It’s World Cup time (again)



Four years ago I was in the 7:1 match in the stadium in Brazil.
In this Sunday edition of Bild am Sonntag, I wrote the story of the day I left Germany for one day to go to Brazil to see my Seleção.

Below the English version of the text:



It was supposed to be just the scoreboard, the numerical information of a given game.But the “7 to 1” took on a life on its own.

Today, in my country, “7×1” is a noun, an adjective, an adverb and an interjection. All at once. It’s a milestone, a state of mind. We are not what we have been. “7×1” was born in football, but it has spread through our lives. For us it became synonymous of incompetence, arrogance and ignorance. It is the bus that brakes, the president who suffered impeachment, a strike from workers. It has become a national expression for things that remind us deception. And it could not be any different.But for me, “7×1” is still the day I left Germany for just one day, to return to my hometown Brazil, just to see the my “Seleção” playing.

I was in a mixed part of the crowd, where on my right were Germans and left Brazilians. Friendly, the Germans by my side, played with provocations. I did the same. The referee whistled the start of the match. I, excited, stood. Some Germans complained and asked me to sit down. I looked at the Brazilians, and they were all standing. I stood up (like my people). But not for long.

I saw the Germans score the first goal. Behind me, the same group of Germans with who we had some provocation, were exploding of happiness. All right, we’re home, let’s turn the score. But the second goal came. The third. The fourth. I sit down, write to a friend the message “4 goals, man!”. On the screen of my cell phone, he asks me “you are not in the stadium? It’s 5 goals!” Yes, I not even had the time to exchange an SMS, and was already another goal.

The Germans near me, were no longer celebrating. They felt sorry for me.I was in a nightmare. Another goal. Must be replay, I thought. But this is impossible. I was in the stadium, facing the goal. It had to be my imagination. That electronic scoreboard, hanging behind the Brazilian goal, blinking 7-1, did not exist. It was a mirage. We’re still going to wake up and laugh about it all.

Suddenly all Brazilians in stadium started to applaud the German team. Crazy. Yellow-green flags lay on the floor, the bleachers emptied by the shame 15 minutes before the end of the match. The “Seleção” is booed. No, actually more than that: she is despised by the indignant crowd.

End of the game. The Brazilians greet the Germans, they praise the show that devastated the Mineirão. For guarantee, by the loudspeaker, a voice calls in German so that the German fans stay in the stadium, (no one wants to take risks) fearing some reprisal of desperate Brazilians. There is, however, no sign of violence. Only disappointment, discouragement, a deep feeling of failure itself.

I listen to that message in German, and since I was so used in my life in Germany to follow instructions, I stayed in the stadium. But I forgot that this time that message was not for me. I (perhaps the last Brazilian supporter in the stadium) still had the “pleasure” to listen: “Rio de Janeiro .. oh, oh, oh”. But that loud sound from the German crow was not because of the love that the Germans had for my hometown. It was the passion for being in a final.

When I finally left the stadium, I met a German friend. Desperate, with the city crowded, he had no hotel to sleep. I invite him to the house of some friends, with the condition that he says that he was from Sweden (no one wants to take risks).

The dream was over. The next day I went to the airport to fly back to Germany. I raised my head and decided to wear my yellow jersey. I knew I would need to wait 4 years. But I was not going to take that jersey off. I wanted to remember that those 5 stars had a history and that we would regain respect. And we will. Here we are 4 years later.