Culture and History Triumph Over Nationalism in the World Cup Lusosphere

Bolas, by RaimAs the World Cup heads into its emotion-packed finals, the Lusosphere is still pulsing around the diverse fates of the teams of Portuguese speaking countries. Brazil fell from its high pedestal and the noisy crash of coach Parreira and his fading stars is bouncing through the blogosphere as expected. Portugal's success in advancing to the semi-final, led by the world champion Brazilian coach Luis Felipe (Big Phil) Scolari, has strengthened the connection between the football fans in both countries. This context is bringing up many interesting connections and promoting an otherwise unexpected conversation.

“On Saturday they asked me if I was sad with Brazil's defeat. I will answer here, in a resounding response: NO!!! What I really dislike is Parreira's cowardly and bureaucratic football playing. Parreira has always been this frightened coach. They call this a pragmatic approach. Now I will go for Big Phil. Portugal can even loose, but at least, Scolari will have sweated, shouted, prayed, yelled, spitted, cursed, right there, on the edge of Portugal's glorious field.”
Hey Parreira, call Big Phil!in a day of jupiter, in mars hour – Brazil

“It took me 24 for hours to recover my strengths to write here. What a game. I was worried about seeing Brazil vs. Portugal in the semi-final. Not because I'm afraid to face them but because I'm am Brazilian and wouldn't be able to cheer for Portugal as I've been doing. I must say that, every Brazilian that I know is now cheering for Portugal for 3 obvious reasons: 1) Our historical connection; 2) Deco and Scolari are Brazilians; 3) France is the devil (at least for us Brazilians)”
A night to

“In the vast outreach of such a small country as ours, a euphoric and energetic feeling is exalted to display our grandeur. Our flag has become known worldwide and we've awakened the sleeping giant inside us — we who in other times traveled many seas and conquered many lands. There came a man from one of these countries, discovered a little more than 500 years ago, who sailed now to the East as an Admiral and managed to make a huge contribution to us as a nation. He gives interviews, and appears in TV ads… He sells the team's watch!!! All hail to our Big Phil!!!”
Across sailed seas…
Guru Scolari “I Believe”

Brazilians are really passionate about this sport and, after so many years of flying at the top of the rank, losing is always received as an unexpected turn. But this time it seems the defeat came with an extra bitter taste, as if the players had betrayed the national team's tradition in not showing the expected resolve in the quarter-final game with the French. Too bad that it was Zidane and his team mates again, the same ones who managed to paralyze the Brazilians in the 1998 final — Brazil's last defeat in World Cup competition before this one.

“There are many reasons to criticize the Brazilian team defeated by the French and even to crucify some of the players. But the main reason was always present in all the games of this team in the World Cup — the players selected for Brazil played as a soulless team, with no heart. It was a team that never fought for the game, never played collectively, never showed itself capable of surpassing the adversities imposed by the game. It was said that Brazil was a team of stars. Wrong. Brazil had its stars, yes, but they never showed a team.”
Uma equipe sem almaDe primeira

“Brazil lost simply by being Brazil. Because of Parreira's dumb stubbornness clinging to a failed formation and the self-centeredness of the oldies Cafu and Roberto Carlos in demanding a place in the team, and the waste of leaving on the bench much better players than the ‘experienced’ stars. I have never seen a team offering the game to the opponent like that. Of all the eliminated teams of the quarter-finals, none deserved defeat more than Brazil.”
Shameful defeat

“The ‘Roberto Carlos adjusting his socks‘ (that's exactly how it is written) community in Orkut had 3,552 members at 1 pm. At 8 pm it was already 5,204 members and it keeps growing. There are right now 820 communities related to Parreira, and the biggest one is “Parreira Son of a B***!” with 82,106 registered members.”
Meanwhile, in OrkutEl blog de los 3 amigos

While Parreira and some of the Brazilian stars of the game are being chastised by their countrymen, on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean there is one Brazilian who gathers unanimous praise from the Lusophone blogosphere. We are talking about the only coach in FIFA World Cup history to chalk up eight consecutive wins in final rounds — Luis Felipe (Big Phil) Scolari. His strong personality creates an intense and passionate relationship with players, press and audiences, and he became famous for his controversial dismissal of idols like Romario (Brazil, 2002) and Vitor Baia (Portugal , 2006). History has proved him right until now.

“All of you know how I criticized, among others, the two names on the title for this post (Ricardo and Scolari). I still believe that Scolari is not the best coach for Portugal, and I still have no doubt that Ricardo is not the best Portuguese goal keeper. But when facts are stronger than arguments, we have to admit — and that's what I am doing — offer our hand for a spanking because I was wrong. My only salvation is to admit that these two (and another one I also criticized) are the ones responsible for Portugal being in a World Cup semi-final for the second time, and I must confess that I am already suffering for a team about which I was totally indifferent a while ago.”

“It is time to say: enough of moral victories! However, feeling that I can't ask more from this team, there is a faith that we can demand the Moon and they will bring it on a tray! With Scolari, there are no more failed strategies, calculations or bad luck. Has the man got luck? That's exactly what we needed, as good players were always present. We could use many arguments, but the one that gets my attention is the fact that, when a player is not playing so well, or when we get a red card, the others compensate with 5 or 10% more… and the results are there for all to see! Sacrifice, warrior spirit, limitless courage… behold Scolari's Selection, my selection!”
Scolari, ou the old cotton story…Footbal's Tribunal

“The ‘Globo Network’ produced an interesting piece where Portugal's coach Luiz Felipe Scolari is the protagonist. The TV network hired a team of [deaf] lip-reading specialists to read Scolari's words during the matches with Holland and England. The result is a report where you hear Scolari's instructions to the Portuguese players during the decisive matches which sent the National team to the World Cup semi-finals. There are also the coach's known pleas for divine help. Watch Scolari in action here (video revealing Scolari comments on the bench)”
Scolari suffers on the benchMungu ni Upendo!

Portugal has entered into the acute stage of the World Cup fever. It's a time when all the ordinary matters of life can justifiably be postponed, and nothing is as important as this uplifting sensation of being superior in the football culture. Interestingly, it's also the perfect occasion for politicians to push their not so popular agendas.

“While nothing seems to happen in the country, an important governmental reform occurred, where the only politically autonomous minister went away; it seems that the Portuguese holiday starts to reveal the crisis (half way for the Revolution); the agro-cultivators will be allowed to build houses in areas classified as National Ecological Reserve (you will see the number of agro-cultivators growing…); in Bolivia the plan inclined to lead Latin America into disgrace is being continued and in Palestine things are as we know, etc. There is truthfully nothing that can divert our attention from what's important.”
Reading, Watching, Listening, Atoms and Bits of 03/07/06Abrupto

“If Portugal goes to the World Cup final on Sunday, it will be necessary to follow Prime Minister José Sócrates closely… we can't let him do another political reconstruction. With the football’s drunkenness — here comes the comment to the taxi driver of the day — the government can take advantage and do some wrong. However, if Portugal loose, here we will come back to the crying. Before the hangover, it will be the government and José Sócrates to take the beating… (Second comment to the taxi driver of the day…)”
Política e futebol – comentário “à taxista”
Easy Glory

The quarter-final battle between Portugal and England was heated enough to generate waves of unfriendly conversation in Portuguese blogs. The sending off of Rooney became a questioned event by English commentators and his tense interaction with his Manchester United teammate Cristiano Ronaldo figured in mainstream media as well. Citizen media is ready to filter the nuanced coverage and paint the picture with passionate national colors.

“The British has created a site (I hate Ronaldo) where they crucify Cristiano Ronaldo. I think there are good conditions for C. Ronaldo to leave for the second best club in the world: Real Madrid. Alternatively, he can join Deco on the third best club in the world, Barcelona. In the best club in the world, the FCP [Futebol Clube do Porto], the place is taken by Quaresma, and it would not make sense to send Ronaldo to the bench.”
Cristiano Ronaldo no Real Madrid?Letras com Garfos

“The lack of objectivity and balance presented by the British press in relation to the game with Portugal, as had happened with Portuguese press in the game with Holland, is one more proof of an evident conclusion: there is no objective sports journalism. There are cheer leaders who write in newspapers and make comments on TV. A strong hypothesis would be that there are news purveyors who write what readers want to read. If this is not felt clearly in national tournaments, it is because there are audiences with clashing opinions. When it comes to the national teams the partiality, which comes close to the stupidity, seems to be written in the ethical code.”
Sports Journalism?

“It's fundamental for me to do the exercise of comparative journalism. If this is important among a nation's newspapers, when we speak of the news about different countries it becomes even more important. It amplifies and reveals the points of view on an issue, as is the case of the game between England and Portugal reported by the newspapers yesterday. If ‘O Público’ elects the goal keeper Ricardo who defended the penalties to the position of hero, to ‘The Observer’ Rooney is the villain, because his dismissal reduced the British team to 10 players. In my modest and probably very ignorant perspective, the game was decided on the penalties, truly game of luck. Therefore, I stay in doubt about the true reach of this news reporting that appears in the headlines of the referred newspapers.”
Two angles of view
Cultural Industries

The whole lusophone blogosphere is gathering now around the Portuguese fate in this World Cup. We are all supporting the ‘tugas’ and Big Phil in these final steps towards the great conquest. In revealing the emotions exacerbated by sport-induced nationalism, the cultural bond surfaces as vivid prose details the connections laced with history.

“From the first World Cup in Uruguay, in 1930… Portugal took 36 years to participate for the first time in 1966, managed by the Brazilian coach Otto Gloria… 76 years later — from 1930 to 2006 — and another Brazilian, Big Phil, takes Portugal to another World Cup with their heads held high due to the discipline that these Brazilians had imposed on the Portuguese. But the Brazilian national team did not manage to do it in 2006 with Carlos Parreira and his own superstar players and this is why they were eliminated by France. With more than 50% of African blood in its own team, the same as Brazil… Africa is always winning… Even the best Portuguese player of all times [Eusebio] is… African… [in this case, son of an Angolan — Malangine — with a Mozambiquean — Ronga from Maputo]”
Luso football accountPululu – Angola

“I was almost fainting of emotion! I was sad about Brazil's defeat! From Timor I received many messages in my cell phone, and here are two from very special friends: (1) Congratulations, my brother! Congratulations, Portugal! Always Portugal ! (Verdial e Cirilo, Cromos). (2) Congratulations Portugal! Even being here in a difficult situation, we are now chanting Portugal victory on the streets of Dili! (Deny). I am convinced that the Portuguese dedicate this victory also to you!”
We Won!
Pantalassa – East Timor

“The Portuguese and the Brazilians hope that Felipão will be sending the French home, defeating King Zidane as in the sixteenth century, when D. Sebastião the king of Portugal died in Alcacer Quibir battle in 1578 in Africa, and was succeeded by Felipe II, from Spain. Then Sebastianism started. It was a messianic movement later stimulated further by Father Vieira and formed by Portuguese who would deny D. Sebastião's death and would stay waiting for his return to the throne, now occupied by a foreigner. Today, the Brazilian Felipe is accepted by the Portuguese and seen by as the only one who can vindicate them from the three World Cup defeats to the French in 1986, 1998 and 2006. D. Sebastião has not come back until today.”
FelipismJuca Kfouri's Blog

In Brazil right now, with the World Cup dream ended, the country is heading to important elections in October. But the lessons learned from the defeat in Germany are still reverberating in the networked conversation, and some creative gems of analogy can be seen in the transition of the issues.

“There are clear similarities between Parreira and the government's economic management and also in the tentative theoretical rhetoric about ordinary aspects of life, in order to rationalize its own absence of courage to take stands. The first common denominator between Parreira and successive government economic teams is the inability of adapting tactical principles to reality. The second, closely related to the first, is the predominance of inertia, the fear of taking the risks of change. Amplifying this, we have the third: pressure from sponsors and/or future hirers and the sport artifacts industry and marketers who add an additional dose of inertia to the game. It is not clear what ‘hedge’ is used by a Nike against the risk of some of its sponsored ones not being chosen to play but those who have it — have it. The fourth commonality is to use irrelevant victories to justify the maintenance of the status quo model. A close victory against unimpressive opponents, as much as an irrelevant growth in the GDP are good justifications for non-action. The fifth similarity is the absence of the political agent, capable of stimulating the ‘animal spirit’ — in the economy to inspire the entrepreneurs to invest and, in the case of Parreira, to make the players play. Big Phil for President!”
Os cabeças de chuteira, por Luis Nassif – HyBrasil

Força Portugal!!!

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