Brazil’s participation in the 2014 FIFA World Cup has reached its amazing anti-climax – one goal scored and 10 conceded in its last two games. But once Brazilians get over the humiliation their team ultimately suffered on the football field, they should take some pride in having hosted what is widely regarded as the most exciting and colourful World Cup yet. So in that sense you have to say to the host country, “Parabéns!” – congratulations.
One reason why Brazil hosted the tournament was so that people all over the world could get to know more about the country. In Australia the World Cup has been shown on television by broadcaster SBS, and I was in the studio audience last night for the final episode (number 26) of The Full Brazilian, a prime-time comedy show that has been running ever since the tournament started. The atmosphere in the studio was great, there were four sexy female samba dancers decked out in feathers, three sexy males in capoeira uniforms thumping out infectious percussion, and the studio itself had great replicas of Cristo Redentor (the statue of Christ the Redeemer) and Pão de Açúcar (Sugar Loaf mountain), complete with cute little cable cars going up and down. The whole thing just made you want to go to carnival in Brazil immediately!
When you consider that his was just one of many offbeat shows that the event’s global broadcasters have been running over the past month, the tourism publicity for Brazil has been priceless, not just in the traditional media, but on social media too. The Guardian newspaper has given an excellent assessment of the event, from a socio-economic point of view in this editorial.
The event has also been a boost for the Portuguese language. Writers from English-language newspapers sprinkled their reports with catchphrases in Portuguese: for example, the jogo bonito, or beautiful game, for which Brazil was once renowned, which became the jogo colapso when Brazil was thumped 7-1 by Germany in the semifinals. By the end of that game every foreigner in Brazil could count to seven in Portuguese. And the non-Braziian fans who attended the tournament soon found out what a “festa” was. (On last night’s episode of The Full Brazilian, though, the host, comedian Jimeoin, took this to mean “fester“, which in English is not so pleasant. Still, by now you’d hope, journalists around the world won’t make embarrassing mistakes like this bunch of Australians did in saying that that language of Brazil was Spanish. No wait, Italian!
Many people are sad that the tournament is nearly over, but at least there is one more big festa to come – the celebrations of whichever nation that wins the final. And another consolation – we have the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 to look forward to as well. Maybe we will all still be doing the full Brazilian for years to come.
Portuguese language notes
- parabéns = congratulations
- dar os parabéns = to congratulate
- festa = festival, carnival
- festar = to celebrate, dance, party
- que pena! = what a pity!
- (não) vale a pena = it’s (not) worth it
- ter pena de = to feel sorry for
- um colapso = a collapse, breakdown, break-up; (medical) shock or fit
- sofrer um colapso mental = to suffer a mental breakdown
- acabar (bem/mal) = to finish (well/badly)
- acabou-se = it’s all over
- terminar = to finish, to conclude
- não se lastima o que bem termina = all’s well that ends well