Why Our Fathers and Mothers Cheer for Brazil at the World Cup


Why Our Fathers and Mothers Cheer for Brazil at the World Cup

Illustration: Ahmed Sikander


he last Football World Cup felt like the return home of the sport. Even though the English invented it, Brazilians have surrendered to football so devotedly, at times self-destructively, that it has come to occupy the position of living its greatest victories and suffering its greatest losses – the role in life played by home and family.

Brazil’s love for the game hasn’t been mere tokenism; it has been sufficiently actual, often profoundly transitional in the way it writes some of the most ecstatic, yet erratic stories in modern sporting history. From the near implausible dominance of 1970 and 2002, to a sombre, grating crawl to lifting the Cup in 1994 that was, as astoundingly ambitious as it may sound, criticised by their own fans. Because Brazil doesn’t just play – they dance, they mesmerise, and take the mickey out of opponents, the Joga Bonito way. For second-generation Indians, the seduction of that preposterously stylised brand of football was the only version of the game worth watching, and Brazil, therefore, the only team worth supporting.