FIFA World Cup 2010: Brazil vs. Portugal Is a Clash of the Titans in Group G
Brazil and Portugal are going to take on the pitch in less than 12 hours from now.
On one side we have Cristiano Ronaldo, on the other Robinho. Both players are key pieces for their teams and their performances will be crucial to determine who will come on top on this match.
Brazil already secured a spot in the round of 16 and Portugal would have to lose heavily and Ivory Coast would need to beat North Korea by a very large goal difference to see her spot in the stage threatened.
So what are these two titans of world football playing for? Honor? Pride? The first place of the group? Revenge? I'd say the answer is all of the above.
Starting with honor and pride.
Brazil was a colony of Portugal for a long time. But as the country gained its economical and political independence in 1822 some hard feelings remained deep in the hearts of most Brazilians.
One can tell by my last name that I carry a strong Portuguese heritage but never really liked that chapter in our history. I can't say if Portugal still carries a certain pride to be called Brazil's motherland but they might as well.
Things really changed once Brazil saw its first football in 1894. It was love at first sight. The colony soon schooled the motherland and pride and honor moved from the political sphere to the football stadiums.
The match that we'll watch in a few hours have been anticipated since the draw and what most expected will play out: Brazil and Portugal will fight for the first place in group G.
Brazil sits atop the group with six points while Portugal comes right after with four.
Although a simple draw is enough for the South Americans we know that it's not in their nature to sit back on defense for 90 minutes.
Portugal would be happy with a tie against Brazil in any other given day but after what happened when these two nations met in 2008 there's an feeling of revenge surrounding the Portuguese squad.
The match I'm talking about happened on November 19, 2008 in Gama (a city near Brasília, Brazil's capital). The match was just a friendly, but we can't really call a match between Brazil and Portugal a friendly like any other, can we?
The score? Brazil 6-2 Portugal. No questions, no complaints. A solid win for the better team of that evening. And it has been like that throughout history.
Brazil and Portugal played each other 18 times before today. Brazil won 12 times and Portugal only four. Only once the clash ended goalless. Brazil scored 36 goals against 15 from Portugal.
However, most of those matches were friendlies. The only time these two nations in a World Cup was in 1966 and the Brazilians have bad memories of that match. Pelé was hunt down by the Portuguese defenders and was out shined by Eusébio. The Black Panther led the Portuguese side to a solid 3-1 win.
Another chapter in this history is about to be written. Will Portugal get their revenge from the embarrassing defeat in 2008? Or will Brazil give Portugal a payback from the defeat in 1966?
The stage is set. Honor, Pride and Revenge.
I'm not going to pretend to be impartial here and say that I hope for a great match and may the best team win.
I do hope for a great match and may the best team be Brazil.
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