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Hero or Villain - The irony of team sport

It is certainly a privilege to live in the country hosting a World Cup. And when it is in Brazil - hands down the Mecca of football - then you could only imagine how honored I feel.

Yesterday's Best of 16 game between the home team and Chile was a roller coaster of emotions. In a country where second place is as useless as last, the pressure on the players is inconceivable for us mere mortals. Brazilians don't accept losing at football, no matter the talent of the adversary.

I guess this mindset is what nurtures the habit of choosing a scapegoat - or simply a villain- when all falls down and a hero when there is a happy ending.

Brazil's goalie, Julio Cesar, was deservedly chosen the hero of the day. He saved two penalties which stamped the country's passport to the quarter finals.

Four years ago, his slip caused Holland to come from behind and eliminate Brazil in the South Africa Cup, rendering him the "title" of the sole culprit or one of the culprits. Four years of "ostracism" and "suspicion" didn't come to an end when he was capped months before coach Scolari announced the final 23 to play the Cup.

All of this to get to my point: when a team wins, everybody wins; when it loses, everybody loses. So why do we tend to put the burden of losing on the shoulders of ONE? Why do applaud today the same person we jeered and wrote off before?
What if he messes up again- will he still be a hero?


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