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Soccer and president in Brazil
JULY 10, 2014 09:30  
In a soccer match, a margin of two goals is challenging but something that can be given a try. A three goal gap, however, starts to discourage the rival team. Korea`s national soccer team must have felt so too when it was losing the Algerian team at 0-3 in the first half at the Brazil World Cup a few weeks ago. At the semi-finals, the Brazilian team started to falter when it allowed rival German team score its third goal at 24 minutes in the first half. Thereafter, the German team scored three more goals and Brazilian team zero. Just before the referee blew the whistle to end the game, the Brazilian team scored one goal but was virtually meaningless. Not only people from the "country of soccer" but the whole world was in shock.

Brazil had hosted World Cup in 1950 when the world had yet to recover from the ruins of World War II. Four years from then in Switzerland, the World Cup was joined by soccer powerhouses. Korea played there for the first time. Four years from then in 1958 at Sweden World Cup, Pele emerged as the Brazilian god of soccer as he brought victory to the Brazilian team. Thereafter, the Brazilian national team won three World Cups and grabbed the Jules Rimet Trophy. Since then, Brazil has been a living symbol of soccer.

Since then, there were many players dubbed the next Pele including Romario, Ronaldo and Rivaldo. However, no player really deserved the status until recently when everyone was talking about Neymar as the real next Pele. However, Neymar couldn`t play at the match against Germany due to spinal injury in the Brazil-Colombia match. Many people considered this was a curse from God but Neymar`s absence actually turned out to be a very fortunate one. It remains in question whether Neymar, if he had played, could have fended off the German team. Still, everyone is saying that Brazil lost due to Neymar`s absence.

Spectators booed Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff when he appeared at the World Cup ceremony. Since the new president took office, Brazil`s economic growth fell below 2 percent whereas it had stayed over 4 percent under former President Luiz Lula. Criticism subsided however as the Brazilian soccer team put up a good fight. A green light was looming for President Rousseff as he wanted to run for the second term in October. However, the Brazilian soccer team was catastrophically defeated, sending the national political situation in a chaos. Protesters put fire on bus in Sao Paulo and there are signs of riots elsewhere.

Editorial Writer Song Pyeong-in (pisong@donga.com)

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