First impressions from Sao Paulo

By Daniel Duchene. Respond on Twitter.

Exactly 12 days from the opening game of the 2014 World Cup, the ambiance is a little weird in the city of Sao Paulo.

Usually, this close to the event, we are used to seeing flags, paintings, and jerseys all over the city, a type of excitement that is very palpable. This time the scene is different. You can definitely feel that something is missing

Graffiti in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Graffiti em Sao Paulo, Brazil

After asking around, I got some interesting feedback that can help explain this unusual feeling of emptiness in the big city.
For starters, the population of São Paulo, that tends to be more educated than other parts of the country, is still frustrated with the way the World Cup was organized. Protests are still going on and will continue throughout the event, despite its loss of form and specific purpose.
In addition, some have commented that showing too much excitement at this point can be seen as a sign of disrespect and lack of support of the anti-World Cup cause. A movement, that from its absence of structure and leadership, has started to take a very unorganized form, threatening to adopt a violent direction.
And finally, the reason that I like to believe is the most prominent, comes from the obligation of winning this World Cup. Whereas Brazilians like to celebrate victory in advance, despite the result, this time losing is not an option. It feels like no one wants to jinx Brazil’s chances, which explains the timid reactions we have encountered so far.

Nonetheless, I am sure this will all change after the first game against Croatia, that is, if Brazil comes out with a win…

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