Brazil's misery worsens with Argentina in final

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Brazil's misery worsens with Argentina in final
An Argentine fan cries while watching the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 semi-final football match against Netherlands in Sao Paulo, Brazil on July 9, 2014. Argentina beat the Netherlands 4-2 in penalty kicks and will face Germany in the FIFA World Cup final on July 13. AFP PHOTO/Miguel SCHINCARIOL (Photo credit should read Miguel Schincariol/AFP/Getty Images)
An Argentine fan celebrates while watching the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 semi-final football match against Netherlands in Sao Paulo, Brazil on July 9, 2014. Argentina beat the Netherlands 4-2 in penalty kicks and will face Germany in the FIFA World Cup final on July 13. AFP PHOTO/Miguel SCHINCARIOL (Photo credit should read Miguel Schincariol/AFP/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JULY 07: Argentine drummers from the band La Fantastica perform on Copacabana Beach on July 7, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Brazil plays Germany tomorrow in the first semi-final match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup while Argentina faces the Netherlands Wednesday. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Germany's defender Benedikt Hoewedes answers questions during a press conference in Santo Andre on July 10, 2014, during the 2014 FIFA Football World Cup. Germany will face Argentina in the final of the tournament on July 13, at The Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZ (Photo credit should read PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images)
A hat featuring the German national colours with three balls is on display at a Sports department store in Berlin on July 10, 2014, three days before the football World Cup 2014 final game between Germany and Argentina, to be played in Brazil. AFP PHOTO / JOHN MACDOUGALL (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)
Caps featuring the German national flag are on display at a Sports department store in Berlin on July 10, 2014, three days before the football World Cup 2014 final game between Germany and Argentina, to be played in Brazil. AFP PHOTO / JOHN MACDOUGALL (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)
Argentine fans celebrate in Buenos Aires on July 9, 2014, after beating the Netherlands in their FIFA World Cup semi-final football match. Argentina beat the Netherlands 4-2 in penalty kicks and will now face Germany in the World Cup final. The banner portrays Pope Francis and reads, 'We come from the end of the world... And we're going to the world cup finals!' AFP PHOTO / DANIEL GARCIA (Photo credit should read DANIEL GARCIA/AFP/Getty Images)
Argentine fans celebrate in Buenos Aires on July 9, 2014, after beating the Netherlands in their FIFA World Cup semi-final football match. Argentina beat the Netherlands 4-2 in penalty kicks and will now face Germany in the World Cup final. AFP PHOTO / DANIEL GARCIA (Photo credit should read DANIEL GARCIA/AFP/Getty Images)
An Argentine fan cries while watching the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 semi-final football match against Netherlands in Sao Paulo, Brazil on July 9, 2014. Argentina beat the Netherlands 4-2 in penalty kicks and will face Germany in the FIFA World Cup final on July 13. AFP PHOTO/Miguel SCHINCARIOL (Photo credit should read Miguel Schincariol/AFP/Getty Images)
Picture of frontpages of Argentine newspapers taken on July 9, 2014 in Buenos Aires a day after Germany beat Brazil with a record 7-1 victory in their FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 semi final football match. AFP PHOTO / DANIEL GARCIA (Photo credit should read DANIEL GARCIA/AFP/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JULY 07: Argentine drummers from the band La Fantastica perform on Copacabana Beach on July 7, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Brazil plays Germany tomorrow in the first semi-final match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup while Argentina faces the Netherlands Wednesday. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Germany's forward Miroslav Klose answers questions during a press conference in Santo Andre on July 10, 2014, during the 2014 FIFA Football World Cup. Germany will face Argentina in the final of the tournament on July 13, at The Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZ (Photo credit should read PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Argentina soccer fans react with jubilation as they watch their team defeat the Netherlands, via a live broadcast the World Cup semifinal match on an outdoor screen in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Wednesday, July 9, 2014. Argentina made it to the World Cup final with a 4-2 shootout win over the Netherlands after the game finished in a 0-0 stalemate. (AP Photo/Ivan Fernandez)
A woman from Brazil and a man from Argentina dance samba at the World Cup Fan Fest 2014, on Copacabana beach, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, July 9, 2014. The flood of foreign football fans, the vast majority of them men, has been a boon for the single ladies of Brazil, where a demographic imbalance means women outnumber men by more than 4 million nationally. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
Argentina fans celebrate after their team defeated the Netherlands during a World Cup semifinal soccer match at the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo Brazil, Wednesday, July 9, 2014. Argentina made it to the World Cup final with a 4-2 shootout win over the Netherlands after the game finished in a 0-0 stalemate. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
German national soccer player Benedikt Hoewedes attends a news conference in Santo Andre near Porto Seguro, Brazil, Thursday, July 10, 2014. Germany faces Argentina on upcoming Sunday in Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, in the final of the World Cup. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
Argentina vs Netherlands in Brazil. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez Mills)
A fan of Argentina celebrates his team's victory over the Netherlands after the end of the semifinal match at the Itaquerao stadium during the 2014 soccer World Cup in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, July 9, 2014. Argentina made it to the World Cup final with a 4-2 shootout win over the Netherlands after the game finished in a 0-0 stalemate. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)
Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates with goalkeeper Sergio Romero (1) after scoring on a penalty kick during the World Cup semifinal soccer match between the Netherlands and Argentina at the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, July 9, 2014. Argentina beat the Netherlands 4-2 in a penalty shootout to reach the World Cup final against Germany. (AP Photo/Fabrizio Bensch, Pool)
Argentina's goalkeeper Sergio Romero saves a penalty kick by the Netherlands' Wesley Sneijder during the World Cup semifinal soccer match between the Netherlands and Argentina at the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, July 9, 2014. Argentina beat the Netherlands 4-2 in a penalty shootout to reach the World Cup final against Germany. (AP Photo/Fabrizio Bensch, Pool)
Argentina's Maxi Rodriguez celebrates after scoring the decisive penalty kick during the World Cup semifinal soccer match between the Netherlands and Argentina at the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, July 9, 2014. Argentina beat the Netherlands 4-2 in a penalty shootout to reach the World Cup final against Germany. (AP Photo/Fabrizio Bensch, Pool)
Argentina supporters wearing masks of former players Diego Maradona, left, and Claudio Caniggia gesture to show the seven goals that Brazil conceded against Germany in Tuesday's semifinal, before the World Cup semifinal soccer match between the Netherlands and Argentina at the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo Brazil, Wednesday, July 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
Bangladeshi women walk past a street painting of Argentina footballer Lionel Messi as 2014 FIFA World Cup art is painted by football fans on the walls of old Dhaka on July 10, 2014. The 2014 FIFA World Cup final between Argentina and Germany takes place on 13 July at Rio de Janeiro's legendary Maracana stadium. AFP PHOTO/MUNIR UZ ZAMAN (Photo credit should read MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
RI Rio de Janeiro (RI) 09/07/2014 - Comerciantes da SAARA sofrem com a queda nas vendas de produtos da copa após a derrota da seleção brasileira para a Alemanha na semifinal da Copa do mundo. Portuguesa à esquerda compra camisa da Seleção Holandesa. Foto: Marcelo Piu / Agência O Globo
SANTO ANDRE, BRAZIL - JULY 10: Miroslav Klose (L) adn Benedikt Hoewedes (R) of Germany talk to the media during the German national team press conference at Campo Bahia on July 10, 2014 in Santo Andre, Brazil. (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)
COMMERZBANK-ARENA, FRANKFURT, HESSE, GERMANY - 2014/07/09: German fans celebrate their victory of Brazil. 21.000 fans celebrated the win of Germany over Brazil by 7 goals to 1 in the 2014 FIFA Soccer World Cup Semi Final in Frankfurt's Commerzbank-Arena. (Photo by Michael Debets/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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SAO PAULO (AP) -- After their own World Cup hopes fell apart in the most humiliating way, Brazilians must now grapple with the prospect that things could get even worse.

Argentina could win.

After beating the Netherlands in a shootout Wednesday, Brazil's football archrival is now tantalizingly close to winning the World Cup for the first time since Diego Maradona lifted the trophy in 1986.

To many Brazilians, Argentina becoming world champion on Brazilian soil would be the worst imaginable ending to the monthlong tournament.

"We have a rule: we always go against the Argentines," said Izabele Chiamolere, a 39-year-old physician from Sao Paulo. Like most Brazilians who attended Wednesday's semifinal, she cheered for the Netherlands.

Or rather, against Argentina.

Chiamolere said that on the train to the Itaquerao Stadium before the game, Argentine fans were already taunting Brazilians with a song that's become their anthem at this World Cup.

With a melody based on "Bad Moon Rising," the song asks Brazilians how it feels to know that Argentina will dominate Brazil in its own backyard, that Messi will lift the cup and that "Maradona is greater than Pele."

When the Argentine fans first arrived in Brazil with their Lionel Messi shirts, pope masks and funny hats, Brazilians tended to just laugh along with this song. Now it's starting to get under the skin for some people.

"If the Argentines win they will become very annoying," said Giselle Giannocco, a 40-year-old professor of physiology from the Federal University of Sao Paulo.

At the heart of this intense South American rivalry is the competition between two giants of world football and the never-ending bickering over which player was greater, Pele or Maradona.

But it goes deeper than that.

Brazilians and Argentines get along in general and relations between the two countries are good - Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff picked Argentina for her first foreign trip after being elected. Still, Chiamolere claimed, Argentines have a reputation of acting arrogantly toward their neighbors on the continent.

"They think they are the most European country in Latin America," she said. "In the past, in many ways they were better than us. But after all the political problems that both countries have had, nowadays we are doing better than them."

Argentina today has a much smaller economy than Brazil and less political clout on the world stage. The Argentine fans, though, don't seem to be bothered about that balance of economic power - as long as they can claim supremacy in football.

Their song at the World Cup includes the dubious claim that Argentina is Brazil's "papa."

Even though Argentina has more Copa America titles, Brazil is the most successful nation on the biggest stage, with five World Cup titles to Argentina's two.

The gap could narrow on Sunday, though, which is why so many Brazilians will cheer for Germany in the final in Rio de Janeiro even though the Germans badly bruised Brazil's self-esteem with a 7-1 rout in the semifinals.

As the German goals poured in, Argentine schadenfreude spilled onto social media with cheeky references to the `How-does-it-feel?' song.

But some Argentine fans insisted they felt no joy when Brazil was thoroughly beaten.

"I was sad because I was hoping for an Argentina-Brazil final," said Alejandro Salerno, a 48-year-old from Buenos Aires who traveled to Sao Paulo for the Netherlands game. "Now we feel that we have to beat Germany. In a South American World Cup, a South American team has to win."

Sentiment will certainly be divided among Brazilians on Sunday when Messi leads his Argentina team onto the pitch of Rio de Janeiro's Maracana stadium, the spiritual home of Brazilian football.

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