Hulk Smash!

The time has finally come for me to talk about football, aka soccer in the US. Here in Brazil, as you’ve probably heard, it’s very,very popular…and that’s an understatement. Actually, I should have posted about soccer back in September when MGFI and I went to see Botafogo vs. Flamengo at Engenhão (Estádio Olímpico João Havelange). Maracanã, where they usually play, was, and still is, undergoing repairs in preparation for the upcoming World Cup in 2014. I’m a Ronaldinho and Flamengo fan but because I went with a group of Botafogo supporters, I sat on their side. Luckily it was a 1-1 tie, so there was no tension within the group.

Here are some pictures from that day:



the Flamengo side

the Botafogo side


more of the Flamengo side

the ramp leading into the stadium

Last night there was another important game, at least for me. It was a friendly between the US and Brazilian soccer teams at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. (broadcast on Globo here). I was tentatively excited to watch it. Being an American with Brazil currently feeding me and housing me, I was torn. I didn’t wanted to be a traitor but there was a problem, the state of US men’s soccer versus the beautiful speed and fancy footwork of the Brazilian team.

Let me be honest, it’s hard to root for the US team. It’s akin to rooting for a baseball team who never makes it to the World Series and really barring flukes, is never seriously considered as even a possible contender. Sometimes, it seems like maybe this could be the year and then sadly like always, it’s not…not even close.

Last night for me was painful and frustrating. It looked like there could be a glimmer of hope in the first half when the US scored but then I remembered the 2010 World Cup. That flashback helped me keep my hopes in check. They were completely dashed during the second half which I spent alternating between yelling at the screen and covering my eyes.

Here comes a rant…

Sigh…US men’s soccer team, you looked like a bunch of kids who had been invited to the big boys park! Seriously I’m trying love you, but you have to do better. Towards the end of both halves you all looked worn out and that’s not acceptable. If you can’t play 90 minutes, or even 45 minutes straight, it might be time to retire. Without Howard and Gomez ( and maybe Donovan) it would have probably been 7-0 or worse instead of last night’s 4-1 final score. America, you still have time…2014 could be better. Come on, you can do it! Again though, I’m not going to get my hopes just up to watch you do what you did last night again. Blah! As, MGFI pointed out, it was just a friendly.

Deep breath…

Ok, so, moving on… what didn’t upset me and instead interested me last night, was that one of the Brazilian players goes by the name, Hulk. It makes sense if you’ve seen him. He looks more like an American football player. I so badly wanted him to score so I could yell, “Hulk smash!”. Sadly, he didn’t, so, I suppose a blog title will have to do for now. What’s also interesting is that he’s not alone. 10 Superhero Soccer Players is an article on the Daily Soccer Blog that lists nine other heroically nicknamed players. They could assemble their own football Avengers. Maybe one of the American players could join and be nicknamed after one of these- The Top Ten Lamest Superheroes of All Time . That’s right, that’s what I said. I know it’s harsh but I’m upset. It’s hard for me to be in a soccer obsessed country and then watch my national team play the way they did.

Taking another deep breath…

Just a friendly… Just a friendly…maybe next time.

Until then though, Hulk smash!

*updates (as of 21:22 31/05/2012)-Hulk could soon to be smashing with Chelsea-
Chelsea agree £38m deal for Brazilian international Hulk from Porto

Ronaldinho and Flamengo part ways- Ronaldinho leaves Flamengo, sues Brazilian club


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