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The Collective Anguish Of The Brazilian Defeat


And now on to Sao Paulo, where NPR South America correspondent Lourdes Garcia-Navarro caught the game at a bar. And, Lourdes, I assume there is collective anguish, albeit very loud anguish right now. What's the mood?

LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, BYLINE: Well, I think people are drowning their sorrows in this bar. And I think anguish is absolutely the right word. I think you could also use the word despair, shock, horror. People have told me this surpassed even the worst imaginings of their most pessimistic friends. In the first half, after those successive goals by Germany, Brazil fans here were holding their heads in their hands, they were shouting, some walked out. We have here with us Roberto Mota (ph), who was watching the game at the same bar I was at. Roberto, ola. Tell me how you feel.

ROBERTO MOTA: I feel too bad. It was the worst game that I had seen in my life. It's unbelievable. Unbelievable. We don't know - we really don't know what happened with our team, but the life continues. And let's try again in 2018 in Russia. We don't need to cry. It happens, it happens. We are very sad today.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: OK. And there you have it. A stunned Brazil tonight. There's almost a sense of mourning here, although as you can hear with Roberto, also a little bit of levity too.

SIEGEL: Yeah, and he was philosophical about it. I guess one could say it's only a game, but is that really true in Brazil this time?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I mean, you know, I think inevitably people will look at this in the light of everything that has happened before. One fan told me, we Brazilians were so relieved when the organization of the World Cup seemed to go well, we never thought our biggest humiliation would be on the field. I think people's mood had really shifted here. The atmosphere had been really festive during the entire tournament. Every game day here was a day when most people didn't have to work, so it really felt like one long party. And I think people just really felt that this was the moment when Brazil would win the cup on their home turf, that this would vindicate all the money that's been spent and all the problems that there were in the run-up to this event. And literally, the first thing people have told me after they talk about how horrified they are at the score, is how this epic loss will affect the country.

SIEGEL: Well, I mean, might it actually have political consequences for the country?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Well, that is certainly what everyone here is talking about. Typically, people want to blame someone for something like this and no one that I've spoken to has blamed the team. Many people have been quite supportive of the team, saying that the loss of their two main players, the brutality of the last game, the youth of the players, all acted against them. Many people, though, have been speaking about the president, Dilma Rousseff. There have been some pretty ugly chants against her at the end here tonight. Elections are coming up in October. And I don't think you can underestimate the symbolism of this huge defeat. Brazil wanted to host the World Cup to show that it had arrived on the world stage, and a loss this dramatic, will be taken by some - by some, not all, but some - as emblematic of the problems in this country.

SIEGEL: Well, Lourdes, thanks for reporting tonight and stay safe.


SIEGEL: That's NPR's South America correspondent Lourdes Garcia-Navarro. She's in a bar in Sao Paulo where the reaction to today's 7-1 defeat of the Brazilian team at the hands of Germany has just struck that country, as you heard one fan say, just completely unbelievable. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Lulu Garcia-Navarro is the host of Weekend Edition Sunday and one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. She is infamous in the IT department of NPR for losing laptops to bullets, hurricanes, and bomb blasts.

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