The Conundrum Of The Cup-Deprived: Brazilians Wonder Who To Root For

Brazilian soccer fans, in their grief over the national team's World Cup loss, now must decide whether to cheer for their archrival Argentina or Germany, the team that crushed their Cup dreams.

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From NPR News this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.


And I'm Melissa Block. Yesterday, in the streets of Argentina - jubilation.


BLOCK: The sound of joyful crowds after Argentina defeated the Netherlands in the World Cup semifinals. They'll play Germany in the final match on Sunday. So joy in Argentina but in Brazil now, an uncomfortable choice - the host country is out of the World Cup and Brazilians have to decide which team to back in the final. Here's NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro.

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, BYLINE: This was supposed to be the World Cup of the Americas. So many teams from the region did so well and the dream, at least here, was that Brazil, the host nation, would take home the cup. Not only did that not happen -Brazilians are still reeling from the thrashing Germany gave them in the semifinal, the worst showing by a Brazilian team ever in a World Cup. But if there's one thing the Brazilians hate more than losing, it's Argentina and its fans. Which has left them with a dilemma - root for a despised team from the region or for the team that humiliated them on the pitch. Because this is a highly scientific poll - I started by asking my taxi driver. I'm supporting Germany, Julio Rossi tells me categorically.

JULIO ROSSI: (Through translator) It's hard support either team. How can you support a team that beat you 7-to-1? But at the same time, I have a lot of Argentinean friends and they will never shut up about if they win. I don't know any Germans - thank God.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: At the metro station, Vinicios Degane looks at me like I'm crazy for even asking the question.

VINICIOS DEGANE: (Through translator) We have a huge rivalry with Argentina. I hope they never ever win a another World Cup anywhere, much less here in Brazil. It would be so humiliating. And we've already been humiliated once, thank you.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: But there were a few outliers.

LUIS GONZAGA: (Through translator) Luis Gonzaga (ph) says Germany humiliated Brazil, Argentina are our brothers. I adore them and they are South American, he says. But he was certainly in the minority.

TAIS PILEGGI: (Portuguese spoken).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Tais Pileggi says she will support Germany, too. The Germans were quite humble in their victory, she says, I don't want to even imagine Argentina winning on our soil, oh, no. No way. Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, NPR News, Sao Paulo.

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