The streets were completely bare during the game. Family and friends got together in their homes or at bars for our debut game. There was this natural cheerfulness around, the optimism of a great match. In my house, the yellow and green preparation took some time. The kids were in this state of pure excitement as they ornamented the house in the colors of our flags and we prepared the food. Cold beer and soda in the fridge, popcorn popping in the pan, and we were ready. Oh, and how could I forget the bets? Yes. During the world cup there are all kinds of “bolão”, bets in which the people in a group guess the score of the game and pay a pre-established amount of money for each bet they make. Whoever guesses the correct score by the end of the game, gets all the money.
We became a breathless nation for almost 90 anguishing minutes. Our team didn’t really impress. Impressive was North Korean’s defense. Robinho was the one player who had some nice dribbles. Kaká was not in his best shape. Michel Bastos tried hard. Anyhow, we celebrated the tight victory. I could have sworn the score would be 4×0. I might have been too optimistic or too self-assured of our team’s superiority in the field. Historically, the score of our first game is generally 2 x 1. It might be because of the anxiety of our idols, or the hard work of our opponents.
At the end of the first 45 minutes, we were hopeless. Everyone became the coach and tried to think of the possibilities to improve the players’ performance. We still had 45 more minutes to show what we do best. After the first goal, the sparkles in our eyes came back and our hope was re-energized. Second goal and our trust in the team was unconditional. Then, North Korea scored…Well, they couldn’t be happier, but we certainly weren’t. 2×1 was a fair score for the game Brazil played, but I hope we do better if we want to keep moving forward.
Lessons learned. What this first game reminded me once again is that we should never underestimate our opponents and we should keep ourselves humble. Victory is about humility. Always.
Take a look at our video, from preparation to celebration:
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