Brazil 0, Portugal 0 AET (Brazil won 3-1 on penalties)
Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, June 14 2015
What must it be like to play for a Brazilian age group team? All that history. All that expectation.
It’s a lot of pressure, and not just for them. Spare a thought for the poor beleaguered football photographer sitting at the end Brazil is attacking! In 5-10 years’ time, at least one player in this side is probably going to be a global superstar. Imagine having the opportunity to photograph Neymar, or Kaka, or Ronaldinho, or Pele, or Falcao before they become famous only to miss out because all your shots of them are blurry or you were too busy focusing on some poor kid who looked good then but is now pumping gas in Sao Paolo because he didn’t make it! It doesn’t bear thinking about.
So, putting yourself in my position, which starlet in this current team would you focus your lens on? Gabriel Jesus because he wears the hallowed number 10 shirt? Danilo because he’s the captain so he must be good? Jean Carlos because he’s already signed for Real Madrid? Andreas Pereira because he’s already signed for Manchester United? Or Malcom because he’s a player who has received many a breathless write-up about his prodigious talent? It was all too hard so I ended up just doing what I normally do and taking whatever I could get…
As for the player that stood out for me, not for the first time in this tournament (probably as a result of spending so much time down one end) it’s a goalkeeper that captured my heart. The Brazilian stopper, Jean, had a wicked temper on him. At one point I thought he was nothing but a red card waiting to happen… Then, during the shootout, his happy go lucky side came out and his wild celebrations that followed each Portugal miss were delightfully fiendish. How can you not love a player like that?
I gotta say though, on today’s evidence the rest of them might all be pumping gas if they play like that for the rest of their careers… But hey, it got the job done and that’s all that counts in these situations! Portugal outplayed them comprehensively throughout the match in every facet of the game except for in one pesky little stat – the one that measures how many times you get the little round white whatchamacallit into the big square netty thing.
If you want to watch a sport where justice always prevails, go watch something like Formula One where they parade around a track in single file with virtually no suspense whatsoever these days. In football the best team does not always win and that’s one of the many reasons why we love it. Brazil must have known that a penalty shootout was their best chance to progress. They played for it and they got it. For Portugal, they had numerous chances to break the deadlock and they only needed to bury one of them. Thus, they only had themselves to blame for their untimely exit from the competition.
As a result of all that, luckily for me, I will get another shot at trying to capture an elusive photograph of the next Pele. I can’t go to any semi-finals because maddeningly I will be in Wellington for work while the games are on in both Christchurch and Auckland. But at least Brazil will now be in either the final or the third vs fourth playoff game at Albany Stadium on Saturday. My mission will be to cover the spread by snapping good shots of everyone I couldn’t catch today! Or maybe I’ll just take 18 photos of Jean. Seriously, Roma, sign the kid, I’m not even joking…
Categories: FIFA New Zealand 2015
A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.