Brazil's obliteration: from the World Cup, and within itself.
As the World Cup nears its final and unpredictable end and as international battles come to a head, the losers must now face the music of their countries. And for Brazil, this may mean the government handing over the players to the protesting populations surrounding the stadium. Everyone figured it would prove difficult for Brazil to win without their Achilles and Ajax, forward Neymar da Silva Santos and captain Thiago Silva, but no one expected the humiliation that the Germans hammered into them yesterday afternoon.
Of course, hosting a World Cup, with the possible record breaking number of championships on the line, and having a nation expecting you to win is no easy task. Italy felt the burden of such pressures in 1990, as did Germany in 2006.
Yet this year, the Seleção was expected to fight for the honor of their country which had already highly questioned whether the World Cup was a complete waste of money.
Outside of the stadium, a month before the circus came to town, demonstrators gathered in downtown Rio de Janeiro and protested the egregious misuse of public funds towards World Cup construction.
The police used pepper spray in numerous areas of the protest, deployed tear gas, made multiple arrests and were seen swinging their batons at protesters.
The government announced earlier this year that it invested $30 million in non-lethal weapons and ammunition to distribute to the 12 host cities. Nearly 170,000 military and police personnel were sent to the cities to combat protestors. Massive cargoes of tear gas grenades, pepper spray, stun-guns, and rubber bullets were sent to cities like California, Rio de Janeiro, Ceara, and Bahia, where the federal government expected the most violent protests.
When all was said and done, the Brazilian federal government poured in a grand total of $11.5 billion dollars into World Cup construction and measures to protect the people. I wonder how steep that price will rise for the Olympics.
Demonstrators fearfully remember 2013's a quinta sangrenta, or “bloody Thursday”, when 20,000 demonstrators protesting the World Cup in were brutally stamped out by Brazil's military police. What started out as a peaceful protest about the hike in bus fares for the World Cup resulted in the injury of more than 800 people.
Since June 2013, more than 700 protests have taken place in Brazil against the government of President Dilma Rousseff, expressing grievances against social inequality, poor public services, political corruption, and excessive spending on construction for the World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.
And now, not only is Brazil not in the final, but their archrival Argentina is still in the running to win the World Cup in Brazil's cathedral of soccer, the iconic Maracanã stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
Its fairly obvious that the media remains heavily focussed on the affairs of the World Cup and is neglecting important matters of state. While the news dedicated a shrine of coverage to the injury of Neymar five days ago, a partially completed highway overpass collapsed on a bus in Belo Horizonte, killing two and injuring dozens.
This bridge was one of many urban development packages that played second fiddle to the World Cup budget. Planned expansions of airports, groundworks for subways, and the completion of onramps have been halted by bureaucratic squabbling and corruption allegations. It is clear that construction priorities were focused on stadiums as the timed edged closer to the soccer tournament. And with videos of rickety stairways in the Maracanã stadium going viral on YouTube, it seems they were hardly able to complete that task.
But hey, you gotta love soccer. I guess.