By Daniel Duchene. Respond on Twitter
Day 29: A Big Win at a Very High Cost
The Seleção won one more game, and we are now headed to Rio for the semi finals, without Neymar and captain Thiago Silva.
- Taylan (also known as “Buddha”)
We have spent the last few days with our next character, a young boy named Taylan with whom we watched the quarterfinal game against Colombia. This savvy 10 year old lives in a precarious community next to the Pituaçu Park in Salvador, with his grandmother, two aunts, and four cousins. He is currently in vacation, but when in school, he loves attending geography and art classes. Taylan is a football fanatic and plays everyday with his friends from the neighborhood in front of his grandmother’s house, but what he really enjoys doing is playing capoeira, where he is mostly known as “Buddha”. He appears to have rhythm in his veins and suddenly transforms in an adult every time an instrument is put in his hands.
We chose Taylan as our next character because we wanted someone to represent the struggle of the unfavored youth in Brazil. With our previous character, Dona Dina, we showed the profile of someone who is dedicated to better the situation of unprivileged children, and with Taylan, we wanted to show the other side of this transaction, someone who depends on this help.
Much like football for Dona Dina’s kids, capoeira gives structure to Taylan’s life, and keeps him out of the trouble that constantly surrounds him.
- The game Brazil Vs. Colombia
As Shaan and I were struggling to watch the game at Taylan’s house, due to a very poor TV connexion, the other half of the team was in the Rio Vermelho, a neighborhood of Salvador that is notorious for its nightlife.
Hard to say if it was a coincidence of the places we visited, but both groups agreed that the ambiance in the city leading up to the game wasn’t nearly as festive as the previous one. Was it because Brazilians were more stressed, or more reassured? Hard to tell, but I felt this lack of excitement myself. Maybe it was due to the time of the game, a Friday afternoon after a long week, with a couple of straight days without games. Maybe we are getting tired of shooting non stop for the past 30 days. Who knows?
Nonetheless, the game was full of events and the excitement built gradually. Brazil scored early to take the lead and calm our nerves. The game continued to be tense throughout the first half and both teams had several opportunities. Colombia came back stronger in the second half and put Brazil’s defense to the test. In an inspired effort, David Luis scored a wonderful free kick from well over 30 meters to put the Seleçao up 2×0. Just as we thought this tough game was going to turn into an easy uneventful win, Colombian midfielder and best striker of the competition, James Rodriguez, scored in a penalty kick with 15 minutes left to the end. In the 42nd minute, in a dead play, Colombian defender Zuniga maliciously brought his knee up and hit Neymar in the back as he was getting ready to control the ball, fracturing one of his vertebras and taking him out of the remaining of the World Cup. The game ended with a Brazilian win, but one that came at a high cost as captain Thiago Silva received his second yellow card and will not be able to play the next game against Germany.
Tomorrow, we leave to Rio de Janeiro, where we will meet our last 2 characters, and hopefully watch Brazil win the World Cup, in the same stadium it was lost 64 years ago.