De um povo heróico o brado retumbante."
I was 7 years old, almost 8. A little girl with no worries about anything in the entire world, when those words started to mean something deeper to me. 1994, the first world cup I was old enough to understand. It was happening in the United States of America, and I thought, "some of family lives there"! I barely knew who Diego Maradona was. He was this man, who achieved so much for our rivals: Argentina. This was his last world cup but he would walk away with tears in his eyes, after failing a drug test.
We were placed in a fairly easy group which included Cameroon - we always face Cameroon for some odd reason. Yet, "This was going to be a tough one", our hearts told us. At the time I lived in Brazil, and the idea of soccer not being the most important thing during the month of June, every 4 years, did not exist. We won our group by a mere 2 points, and advanced to the playoffs. We played the USA and advanced to play the Netherlands. Oh those dutch... they have always been in our ways and people have always underestimated them. After beating them and whoever was next we faced Italy in the finals. Now, I am part Italian... this was weird. Italy had the most amazing soccer team of all times, and I adored them. I followed them. We had no idea that having our captain Dunga, our star Romario, and one of Italy's stars: Baggio, would win us the world cup. The match went to overtime and eventually to penalty kicks. As a 7 year old, I don't remember anything from those last 15 minutes besides 3 facts: 1. We had an amazing goalie, his name was Tafarel and the commentators always said "vai que e tua Tafarel!" (Go for it because it's yours Tafarel, which to this day my friends and I say it playing around when we wish someone to do something that they are great at). 2. Romario was our beast. The man made history, and it's not easy to make history as a Brazilian soccer player. 3. Baggio... Roberto Baggio was his name and missing the crutial penalty kick was what he did. And that was my first experience as a Brazilian soccer fan.
Four years after that I remember us preparing for another world cup. This is when we would win our 5th championship we thought. Coca-Cola sang in its commercials "O Brasil ta com fome de gol, O Brasil ta com sede de 5" (Brazil is hungry for goals, Brazil is thirsty for 5) and we all chanted it. But that was a disappointment. We watched as Ronaldo, the phenomenon, failed to perform and France took our fifth star from us.
2002 came quickly and we easily killed Germany in the finals with our phenomenon scoring two goals against nothing. Who would ever thought that 12 years later we would be slaughtered by the same country 7 goals to 1? I certainly didn't. If i did I wouldn't have painted my face yellow and green, i wouldn't have tied my hair with a Brazilian bandana and worn my country's colors. Or would have I?
That's the question us fans ask ourselves all the time. After living in America for 11 years I realized that America loves, but it also hates. Just like us Brazilians. The silly constant comments about soccer never, ever, made me feel anything negative. I love the sport. I think it's stupid when people compare it to football because it's soccer. The most ignorant comment of all times is: "the real soccer, football, starts in september". Ignorance is my least favorite human characteristic.. Come on everyone, there's soccer and there's football, and because the whole world decided to call soccer "football" (foot+ball, kicking, kicking the ball with your foot... etc) does not mean they are the same. So would I have dressed up for Brazil even if i knew they would have lost? YES! and I will repeat, yes. My heart beats green and yellow, my hands shake and tears come to my eyes when I hear our anthem. The passion and love I have for my country, my soccer team, my players, my brothers and sisters, will never ever fade. And if you, share those emotions with me, you will appreciate this video. At every beat your heart, as will mine, will move faster and in the end, with chills in your arms and tears in your eyes you will sing. With all your might you-will-sing:
Entre outras mil
És tu, Brasil,
Ó Pátria amada
Dos filhos deste solo és mãe gentil,