Day 23: One Big Heart
The Selecão played its round of sixteen game, and it wasn’t easy on the Brazilian hearts.
We watched the round of sixteen game Brazil Vs. Chile with Dona Dina, in Salvador. Dina lives in the Boca do Rio neighborhood in a well furnished house. She actually shares a townhouse with 6 apartments where mostly family members live. It is important to point out that even though she has a very stable economic situation, she lives in a low income part of the city. We had the pleasure of spending time with this loving person and getting to know her lifestyle on the previous days.
In an effort to provide a safe place for the children of her neighborhood and to help them with their education, Dona Dina started a football team, Galileia F.C., 15 years ago. The concept of her association was to create a family environment for these kids, often left on their own at a very young age, and make sure that they were attending school and doing their homework before football practice. The program grew to incorporate other activities like capoeira and boxing.
Unfortunately, after hitting its peek 3 years ago, her program started to loose structure and suffered from the lack of support and interest from bigger organizations. Today, her efforts are reduced to maintaining the football team. To us, her story represents the struggle that social workers and educators have to deal with regularly in Brazil.
- One heart-testing game
As Shaan and I were watching the game with Dona Dina’s family, the other half of the team was at the legendary Pelourinho, cultural and historical center of the city of Salvador. Famous for its colonial architecture and colorful traditional houses, this neighborhood offers a true cultural experience, and is always a gathering point for big events and festivities.
The ambiance was festive and everybody was prepared to celebrate a Brazilian victory, though nobody imagined it would have been this hard and stressful. Brazil clearly dominated the first half playing very well and scoring within the first 20 minutes of the game. Chile tied the game a few minutes later, after a concentration mistake from the Brazilian defense. Brazil continued to play well and had many other chances of scoring, including a clear uncalled penalty on striker Hulk.
The second half was another story. Chile came back stronger and even more motivated after the break, and clearly believed they could win it. Even though Chile had control of the game at that time, Brazil managed to score a goal, that was poorly waved off by the referee, adding to his horrendous refereeing performance. I would like to point out that, in my opinion, the performance of the referee was clearly influenced by the international media that had been pressuring FIFA with rumors that Brazil had been favored for hosting the World Cup…
After an agonizing pause of 30 minutes of overtime and PKs, the party commenced again, and the country was back to its usual state of happiness. Brazil moves on and will be playing against Colombia, next Friday, for a spot in the semi finals.