While Brazil protests continue in the streets of Rio de Janeiro, there are other protests underway in the Gran Campano. Part of the stirring transformation from a vibrant mecca of modern culture to a right-wing morass of crime is the yellow jersey.
Hundreds of people rode bikes, scooters and wagons Monday, staging a ride against the Dutch national team, which has made stunning progress at the World Cup and at the Euros.
The Netherlands delivered a huge boost to Brazilian hopes at the last World Cup in 2014. Brazil slumped to a third-place finish, with the Netherlands clinching third place for the first time. Brazilians, many of whom were actually delighted to see the Dutch advance despite Luiz Felipe Scolari’s team’s relative malaise, turned their wrath against the Dutch in the European Championship this summer. The Dutch had triumphed easily in the group stage. Brazilians held a massive demonstration called ‘Rio Tots’ (Rio parrots) to protest the Dutch victory.
But are the Dutch a successful model for Brazil? Or a dangerous sign of the direction their economy could take?
The Dutch are expected to be the favorites to win a third World Cup at the 2022 tournament in Qatar. It’s a long way from Uruguay’s 1970 title and a youthful but distinctly South American-looking France squad in 1998.
Brazil were precocious, energetic and buoyant in the ’14 World Cup, even as their fortunes turned around somewhat in the finals against Germany. Only the odds are stacked against Brazil to triumph again in 2022.
However, this is a nation with extraordinary talent in mind, as you’ll see if you see the fact that the Dutch defeated Brazil’s famous ‘Brazilista’ side 2-0 in a friendly match in April.
Which brings us to the yellow jersey.
It’s worn by Dutch midfielders Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder. Irate Brazilians see the sight of two Dutch national team stars on yellow jerseys as icons of the Dutch arrogance. And they’re upset about their government spending $3 billion on several projects for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. After the Dutch join up, they’ll surely need that money.
Now a Yellow Jacket may never be a Gold Medal winner, but that shouldn’t stop him from holding hands with his girlfriend.