Location: Maracana, Rio de Janeiro
Brasil-Germany Football final
Neymar holds a second before taking the decisive penalty. We are high up in the stands of Maracana, that summer evening in Rio de Janeiro. It is around 23.00 in the evening and its hot. The tension of the moment is indescribable, the silence incredible. 80.000 spectators (of which probably 79000 Brazilians) hold their breath.
The penalty goes…. In!
Brazil is Olympic Football Champion. A millisecond the silence continues, but then. But then. An eruption of noise. I have never experienced such an outburst of collective emotions. It felt like the stadium would take off. The generated energy would be sufficient to send it to the moon!
To understand this explosion, you should know a few things.
- Brazil was until that august day in 2016 never Olympic Champions. Although they are 5 times world champions. In general Brazil is seen as the ‘’real’’ home country of Football.
- The Maracana stadium was built for the World cup Football in 1950. The most dramatic loss for Brazil ever took place in the final against Uruguay. An attendance of 199.854 (still the football match with the most spectators) saw a dramatic 1-2 loss. All went silent that disastrous day, named Maracanaço. Still today an open wound.
- In 2014 Brazil hosted the World cup and the final was, indeed, in Maracana. But Brazil did not participate in that final having lost 7-1 (!) to Germany in the semis. And now the Olympic final in Rio ‘16 was against…Germany!
- Brazil lost the last Olympic Final to Mexico. Everybody in Brazil expected a win in London but they lost 1-2.
- Neymar was leading the Olympic team in 2016. He did not play very well and had the whole country on his back and shoulders. But in the final he scored the equalizer (1-1) in the second half. But after prolongations the match had to be decided with penalties. And Neymar took the last one at a score of 4-4. If he scores they win!
Above elements were like a Caipirinha on the Copacabana. Expectations are high, conditions ideal, but you are not fully confident. Haven’t you heard of overpriced and overrated, badly mixed cocktails? But then, as you get your first taste you know it’s the best Caipirinha you have ever tasted.
That moment in Maracana was the best Brazilian cocktail which led immediately to a collective drunken ship all around us. Rio carnaval could not come close. It was Brazilian heaven.
It remains one of my best ever Olympic experiences. See for yourself the Maracana eruption that flushed away all bad vibes for ever in Maracanáááá!