Monday, 21 June 2010

Brazil's World Cup fever

Brazil is the largest country in the world with a single language (no dialects), culture, religion (primarily Christian) and ethnicity. From Oiapoque in the North, to ChuĂ­ in the South, virtually the entire country – 193 million – roars in unison whenever the Brazilian team scores a goal in the World Cup in South Africa. The nation is glued to its TV sets: public institutions, the legislature, courts, offices, shops, traffic; everything stops unanimously while the national team plays. Only emergency rooms and public hospitals remain open and functional.

The experience is intensely emotional. Brazil is riveted by the beautiful game. The country’s daily routine changes to accommodate the matches which not only unite the nation but also has wider political implications: if Brazil should win the Cup (for the sixth time!) then President Lula's candidate will be elected by a landslide in October. Lula himself is attending the final game in Johannesburg on 11th July, hopefully of witnessing a Brazilian victory, but if this is not the case then despondency will dominate the country. Laughter in public will be disparaged and a mood of national mourning will prevail.

On its return to Brazil, the team will still be fĂȘted as heroes, but the already controversial coach, Dunga, will be the object of unyielding public scorn until the next World Cup Championship in Rio de Janeiro in 2014. Together with the 2016 Olympics, this will be a decisive moment for the country.

The above post was written by our correspondent in Brazil and editor of Brazil Focus which you can find here.

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