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Opinion – José Manuel Diogo: Four years later, the heart breaks again before the possible final between Brazil and Portugal


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Four years ago I wrote, here at Sheet, with eyes fixed on Moscow, that if Portugal and Brazil met in the final of the Cup, I didn’t know if my heart would take it. Today, with my eyes set on Doha, I feel even more uneasy.

When I wrote, Portugal beat Morocco, with whom it will now play the quarterfinals, and Brazil beat Costa Rica 2-0, who packed up and left. Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo were the brightest stars in the galactic firmament of football in the language of Camões.

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The Portuguese team was champion of Europe and Cristiano Ronaldo was at his peak, but in the Russian Cup Portugal would fall early —at the hands of the Uruguayan Alviceleste right in the round of 16— and Brazil one round ahead, in the quarterfinals, hypnotized by the best Belgium that the football ever seen. My desire turned to dust.

This last game for Brazil in the 2018 World Cup, in Kazan on July 6, closed the participation of the Portuguese-speaking teams in the FIFA competition in the country of Vladimir Putin. It was an important date, which promised not to be forgotten.

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Three months earlier, on April 7, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) turned himself in to the Federal Police at the ABC Metallurgists Union, in São Bernardo do Campo, to serve a sentence of 12 years and 1 month —which would last “only” 580 days and ending on November 8, 2019. Lula watched the last World Cup in jail, I’m sure he remembers that.

And exactly two months after that sad date, on September 6, Jair Bolsonaro (PL) would meet the edge of the blade of Adélio Bispo de Oliveira — and the occasional gesture would take him to the Planalto, carried on shoulders by the senselessness of the exhaustive media coverage that ended the chances of Ciro Gomes (PDT) and Fernando Haddad (PT) of defeating the messianic captain.

Today, just one World Cup later, Russia is the international pariah that plunged Europe into war, threatening to transform, for the first time in history, the Old Continent into a secondary bloc.

The world has experienced an online pandemic that has forever changed work habits and mechanisms for building trust between people, giving new meaning to old concepts and creating new ones —such as digital nomads or global migrants.

In Brazil, Bolsonaro’s Presidency split the country in half and the story of Lula da Silva —better than any Hollywood script, living up to the most fantastic hyper-realism of Marquesian literature— proved, to all those who still doubted, that unquestionable truth : in Brazil even the past is uncertain.

But today, Portuguese is the only language twice represented in the quarterfinals. And that’s why the chances of our teams meeting in the final are greater. If that happens, we will, again, be heartbroken.

Not knowing how to cheer, not knowing who to applaud, not knowing who to support. Because you also love Gonçalo Ramos, but we also love Richarlison. As I said before: Brazil vs Portugal final? It would be good, very good. But it would suck.

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