“Well then, this jersey, are we wearing it or not today?” Thus the Brazilian rapper Marcelo D2 summed up the modesty of the left on Thursday November 24, the day Brazil entered the competition – “the most successful since the 1970 World Cup”, according to the very demanding commentator Juca Kfouri. Reason: the most famous tunic on the planet has turned into the battle dress of the far right, which came to power in 2018 with Jair Bolsonaro.
But barely the Auriverdes on the ground against Serbia (beaten 2-0) that we were already welcoming the reappropriation of the “little yellow” by non-Bolsonarists. And in particular by the elected president, Lula, who beat the incumbent in the October 30 ballot. “We are going to win the World Cup, assured the leader of the left, duly dressed in his national jersey. God will help us.” Radio silence, on the other hand, in the Bolsonaro clan.
“The Brazilian shirt is an unofficial symbol of the country, an expression of our diversity, explains football historian Flavio de Campos. Its appropriation by this or that political side is therefore not insignificant. The entry into the running of the Seleção will have given two matches instead of one: the one on the field and the one off the field, which focused on the question of how to dress to attend it. And no sooner had the left made peace with the shirt of the most successful team in World Cup history than it was the turn of the most fanatical Bolsonaro supporters to boycott it. In fact, there is no question, for the latter, who camp in front of the barracks all over the country to demand the invalidation of the ballot, to be confused with vulgar supporters.
On the sit-ins, they made a point of sulking the game, even booing the two winning goals. Supreme offense, their author, the center-forward Richarlison, is suspected of having the heart on the left, like the coach, Tite. Striker Neymar, he had called for Bolsonaro to vote and even promised to dedicate his first goal of the Qatari World Cup to him. Suddenly, the opposing camp comes to welcome the injury of the Brazilian superstar, who will not play this Monday’s match against Switzerland: “Neymar will have to get used to the idea that he is defending a country that does not like him”, shoots columnist Milly Lacombe.
With a Q or a C?
Suffice to say that the atmosphere is not “the reconciliation through football of a fractured country”, as the editorialists hoped with this World Cup which begins in the wake of the most divisive ballot since the return to democracy in 1985. Busy in repelling the fascist danger embodied by Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil has not really looked into on the moods aroused by the choice of an autocracy that ignores human rights to host the high mass of world football. In the press, the debate was limited to wondering whether to write, in the Portuguese language, Qatar with a Q or a C. “Basically, further asks the historian Flavio de Campos, Bolsonaro’s Brazil, where some of the highest state authorities assimilate homoaffectivity [terme préféré à homosexualité au Brésil] to a disease, is it so different from a regime that suppresses sexual minorities?