NEWS

Brazil and Ghana make sweet music at ‘opera house’

Dortmund – If confirmation was ever needed that soccer and not love is the true universal language, then hearing four Polish fans wearing Brazilian colors in Dortmund chanting «attack, attack» in Japanese to a passing tourist from the Far East was proof enough for those who witnessed this surreal spectacle on Tuesday. The German city of some 600,000 inhabitants was playing host to Brazil’s second-round World Cup match against Ghana. Dortmund, home to three collieries, was the largest and most significant industrial city in the area around the Ruhr River before 95 percent of its center and 60 percent of its suburbs were destroyed by Allied bombing in the Second World War. It has since been rebuilt and is today considered a prime location for research and technology firms. But Tuesday’s encounter was less about industry and more about artistry because in the international language of soccer, Brazil stands for everything that is exotic and inspirational. Brazil is the only team in the world that can arouse Germans, Poles, Englishmen and Japanese as well as Brazilians from all over the globe to drop whatever they are doing and turn up in the unglamorous industrial heartland of Westphalia on a drizzly day in June. At any other time they would be foreigners with nothing in common but on this day they were brothers dressed in the canary yellow of Brazil who had made the pilgrimage in the hope of seeing what the country’s most celebrated player, Pele, called «the beautiful game.» Thousands gathered in the center of Dortmund hours before the game to prepare for the match with the help of the only acceptable accompaniment, not beer but samba. Brazilians take their music as seriously as their soccer. This was highlighted when they managed to squeeze a 10-piece samba band onto an already packed tram to the stadium. Despite the cramped surroundings and the jerky movements of the tram, the sweaty musicians did not miss a beat. By the time the tram arrived at its destination all the carriages were swaying to the samba rhythm. Whether it’s soccer or music, Brazilians have an infectious quality that makes it irresistible for bystanders not to be whisked along on the promise of a magical experience.