Friday 17 November 2017

Daniel McDonnell: Brazil public increasingly fearful their disliked neighbours will prevail

ON Saturday night, in a packed restaurant in Brasilia, a waiter made the mistake of dropping them some plates.

This delighted the patrons who were busy stuffing their faces in this thriving Rodizio, an eaterie where diners pay a set price and then eat as much meat as they like.

This concept is a story for another day, but they tend to bloat brave men with eyes bigger than their stomach.

Revelry was the order of the day in Brasilia, however, as this particular Rodizio had been taken over by Argentina fans who had celebrated their side's triumph over Belgium earlier in the day.

When the waiter suffered his personal nightmare they spontaneously burst into song, a tune that has become an unofficial soundtrack to the tournament wherever the Argentine fans go. Fathers and sons at different tables stood in unison.

It's their adaptation of the Creedence Clearwater Revival song 'Bad Moon Rising' with the lyrics amended to taunt their hosts about what Argentina plan to do in this competition – and a reminder of a glorious moment for La Seleccion in their shared World Cup history.

Gonzalo Higuain's strike against Belgium on Saturday put his nation into the semi finals for the first time in 24 years. On the way to reaching that point in Italy, they scored a famous triumph over their Brazilian neighbours with the wizardry of Diego Maradona setting up Claudio Caniggia for a winner.

The translated lyrics of their version include the lines.

“We will never forget what El Diego did to you [a reference to a nutmeg in the build-up] and then El Cani [Caniggia] stuck the needle in,” they sing, before adding that Brazilians have been crying since Italy and, essentially, it's about to get a whole lot worse for them when they see Lionel Messi bring the cup home.

The chorus concludes on a familiar discussion. “Maradona es mas grande que Pele” - Maradona is greater than Pele.

With few Brazilians around the place, they were able to repeat this song over and over without any consternation. It would be a different story if the semi finals went to the South Americans this week, thus setting up a Sunday showdown in the Maracana.

Brazil, still reeling from the loss of Neymar, enter their tie with Germany with serious reconstruction work to do.

Argentina have lost Angel Di Maria, yet they were comfortable for long periods against Belgium and their fans are starting to believe.

The last four weeks has been a party for all visiting fans to enjoy, but one nation will be shouting loudest at the end. Brazilians are increasingly fearful that their disliked neighbours will have that privilege.

Online Editors

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