Brazil, Germany and the World Cup crying boy

The strength of his sobs shook his small body while tears streamed down his face. The little boy’s cries summed up the devastation of a nation. He stood among a crowd dressed in yellow at the Mineirao stadium and he couldn’t stop weeping. He and thousands of unbelieving men and women around him had spent the last 29 minutes watching Germany destroy their World Cup dreams. The little boy wailed. Brazil wept.

The semi final was 29 minutes young and Germany had scored 5 goals. You couldn’t say Brazil were going home as you would for other teams who failed to make it through the knock-out stages. Brazil were at home. This was their country. This was their tournament. This was meant to be their Cup.


I don’t know who that little boy in Brazil was. I don’t know how old he was or what his name was. But I know that in that moment, after watching his country well and truly thrashed, he was for me everything a World Cup should be.

That child in that stadium was, for every winning and losing moment of this World Cup, in love with football. With his heart and soul and every inch of his skin, he believed in a game which was played between two sets of goalposts. He was carried along on a wave of excitement which had taken the world with it. He wanted more than anything for his team to find glory during a tournament which brought the corners of the earth together. He believed completely that the Cup would belong to Brazil.

And this, this pure and innocent idealism, this was football. This unfaltering optimism, this unquestioning belief, this is what we adults lost somewhere, between World Cups, when we grew up.

At 5-0, or perhaps it was at 6-0 or 7-0, that little boy finally gave in and gave up. He realised it was over. The dream was no more. (He too grew up.) But until then, he believed there was a chance and he dared to keep dreaming. At 1-0 and 2-0 and 3-0, like a sorry Spurs fan who believes at the start of each season that this might finally be their year again, he believed. His sobbing shook his body with such vigour because he had truly thought this with all of his might.

That little boy had his heart broken. In a crowd of his country-folk, in a sea of dreamers who too had let themselves imagine they would achieve glory,  he experienced crushing, unrecoverable devastation. He wept, of course. He sobbed, of course. A nation mourned the death of a dream. But last night, that little boy’s tear-stained face showed the world what it was to believe.


8 Comments on Brazil, Germany and the World Cup crying boy

  1. Carl Wilke
    July 9, 2014 at 1:12 am (4 years ago)

    Great article about the crying boy from the game. He certainly did represent all that is good about the passion of the World Cup. I have a question about your Spurs reference. Are you referring to the NBA team from San Antonio or a different Spurs team? If it’s the American basketball team then you’re trying to tease one of the best teams from the last 15 years. If it’s another Spurs then I’d love to know who they are. Thanks!

    PS-If you’re looking for an easy target in American sports then you could write “Chicago Cubs” in place of Spurs.

    • kiranchug
      July 9, 2014 at 1:20 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you Carl. The Spurs I refer to are Tottenham Hotspur, a North London team playing in the domestic England league. Us long-suffering fans start every season so hopeful but it’s been a long time since we added any silverware to the cabinet!

  2. Dirk
    July 9, 2014 at 4:55 am (4 years ago)

    Very nice piece Kiran; those few seconds of footage of that boy summarized it all last night. What should have been the night in his young life – going happily and proudly to the stadion with his dad – turned into disaster. But I am sure that in 10 or 15 years time, his generation will be there to take a sporty revenge: their belief will return, after the mourning of today.

  3. Sarah MumofThree World
    July 9, 2014 at 8:49 am (4 years ago)

    What a beautifully written post. I can just imagine how devastated my 10yo son and 8yo daughter would be if they were in that boy’s position.

  4. kiranchug
    July 9, 2014 at 1:20 pm (4 years ago)

    It made me remember myself as a young girl, watching Paul Gasgoine and crying with him!

  5. Sara (@mumturnedmom)
    July 10, 2014 at 12:04 am (4 years ago)

    I have to admit I haven’t watched any of the World Cup, I’ve just never been a fan of football. But, last night my husband was flicking through his recording of the match and I watched those first five goals in disbelief, and watched the tears in the stadium with genuine regret. I may not enjoy football, but so many do, and that was so apparent yesterday, it meant the world to them and it must have been devastating. Brilliant post, as always, Kiran xx

  6. Seychellesmama
    July 10, 2014 at 4:33 am (4 years ago)

    Ahhh I hadn’t seen this how sad that is, bless him! But you are so right, it truly is a representation of the nation and as you said true belief, also passion and true love of football…..beautiful really!

  7. Sal Manella
    July 10, 2014 at 8:48 pm (4 years ago)

    How about the children of the eight workers who died in the construction of Brazil’s new stadiums — is anyone talking about them (assuming the deceased are survived by any children)? This kid gets loads of media attention for bawling because his team don’t kick a ball around as well as another team. Sorry, kid (and everyone else who cried when Brazil lost), but you’ve got it pretty good if that’s the biggest tragedy in your life.

    Maybe Dilma Rousseff will buy him an ice cream cone to help him get over it.


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