Our resident Brazilian is back with more passionate insights from the world of Brazilian football.
Last week, following the introduction to the Brazilian Cup in this space, I purposely abstained myself from writing a follow-up to the matches. Sure it’s not very professional, but the thing is that Flamengo lost 3-0 to Coritiba and depressive articles are not exactly good to build up an audience.
Now, however, things have turned upside down, and if nothing else this post, I promise, will at least make you want to follow the rest of the tournament more attentively. First allow me to contextualise.
When I was a kid I had the opportunity to choose between supporting Flamengo or São Paulo. Although the vast majority of my family cheers for the team from Rio de Janeiro, I had an incisive and persuasive uncle who turned the coat for some reason.
You see, both are accomplished clubs, having won a record of six national leagues each, but there’s a difference between the two that might explain — and excuse me for — my blind and unprofessional passion towards Flamengo.
The last time São Paulo won the league they did it three years in a row. From 2006 to 2008 they practically didn’t leave the top of the table. It was so regular a campaign that even the games’ results were all either 0-0 or 1-0. Close, boring and often the perfect medicine for sleepless heads, but worth one or three points anyway.
Flamengo stole the trophy from São Paulo’s hands the following year in their customary way: after hovering between 10th and 15th place up until in mid-week season, much closer to relegation than to the title, we the supporters simply decided it was time to win the thing again, started to pack Maracanã in every match (which unlike Europe is a rare thing in Brazil) and miracle after miracle they made their way to the glory.
This is of course a very reduced version of the epic tale of 2009, but serves right to introduce the comparison this article intends to make between Flamengo and the mythological hero.
According to Wikipedia, a hero refers to “characters who, in the face of danger and adversity or from a position of weakness, display courage and the will for self-sacrifice for some greater good of all humanity.” It is not expected from you all to understand how this definition applies perfectly to what Flamengo represents (that’s what I’m here for), but it summarises the reason why the production of this article has been delayed for a week.
By losing the first leg 3-0 Flamengo assumed a position of vulnerability, their human half of the personage. Trust me, if that game had been a mere 1-0 or even a draw the supporters wouldn’t have believed as much. Flamengo works better, if only at all, when the situation is desperate, close to unattainable.
On Wednesday, then, in a demonstration of bravery and determination — especially because half of the squad was filled by reserves —, Flamengo dealt with scoring the much needed three goals and took the decision to a penalty shootout.
Now, everybody knows how exciting and nail-biting a decision like this can be, so not to elongate much I’ll just put the highlights of it below and add to the drama the fact that my internet connection went down right after the 4th penalty. When I managed to establish it again the scoreboard was 2-2.
It’s quite long, but exciting nevertheless.
It’s never easy for Flamengo, my friends, but that’s why this club is so loveable.
Another epic match worth taking a look at is Ceará and Botafogo. Having lost 2-1 at home last week, the latter went on a hard mission to the lovely northeast of Brazil and were losing 3-2 up until the 90th minute of the match. If a comeback during stoppage time isn’t enough to melt your heart and make you watch the video, please do so only because all the seven goals were brilliantly scored.
The quarter-finals of the Brazilian Cup will take place in October.
Maycon Dimas, Pundit Arena.