by Yuri Damasceno
Germany won the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. No matter how brilliant, it’s already old news and there isn’t much one can say that hasn’t already been said in the media and social networks. But more than winning the World Cup, Germany has accomplished a much more difficult task while making it look like easy game: they have conquered Brazilian hearts (and that was way before the heartbreaking 7X1).
Ever since their arrival in Salvador (the capital of the Brazilian state, Bahia) the German squad spread niceness and charisma wherever they went. Neuer and Schweinsteiger wore the uniform and sang the hymn of the local team Bahia and put smiles on the faces of local citizens (even the ones that don’t cheer for Bahia). Podolski and, the usual nice guy, Schweinsteiger, also wore the uniform of the most popular team in Brazil, Flamengo (from Rio de Janeiro). Many German players posted messages in Portuguese to the locals in an attempt to socialize with them (and also in person on beaches and streets of Brazil).
The Germans even did a dance with the Pataxó indians after a scheduled training. And to our surprise and entertainment, they repeated the dance around the World Cup trophy in celebration of their victory. It is very amusing for us, Brazilians, to see an international group of sport celebrities valuing aspects of our own culture, which we sometimes take for granted. And I must not forget to mention that the first Pataxó dance was at the Campo Bahia, the training center that they decided to build specifically for their stay in Brazil. With this decision, they created at least 250 direct job opportunities for the local people. Do you still want more? They’ve given an ambulance, created a school program in the city of Santa Cruz Cabrália (the same city where the defensive midfielder Khedira gave a German shirt to the boy ‘Coquinho’) and built a road to connect the training center. Some critics may say that these were just marketing and, therefore, demagogic deeds, but it doesn’t really matter that much, especially when the result is so positive. If it was, in fact, only marketing, let all World Cup marketing campaigns be so well carried out and so socially and emotionally meaningful. Personally, I have a strong feeling that this German team is more than that, much more.
And that is why even the devastating win over the hosts of the event in the semifinals did not destroy the Brazilian affection for the German team. Okay, we must confess that between Argentina and almost any other team, Brazilians would most likely cheer for the latter due to a long-time rivalry with Argentina when it comes to soccer. But, among all the other squads, the Germans were the ones who have said “Obrigado” (Brazilian word that means “Thank you”) to Brazil so many times and in so many ways. Brazilians are also happy to have hosted these “sympatische Jungs” here and hope to see them again. I’m sure many of us would really like to thank them for everything, particularly for their last gift to Brazil: letting the score between our country and Argentina remain 5X2.
We all hope to see them (and their 4th star) shining more than ever (but not so much against Brazil again, please!) In the end, we are absolutely sure that the road connecting the training center wasn’t the only one that the Germans built during their stay in Brazil. They have also built a successful road that many have tried but only one team got to finish: A dignified and meritorious road to glory.