The chants that rocked the stands
Brazilians have earned quite a name for themselves with their expressions of support and disapproval during these Olympic Games. While it has a good bit about it -- a boisterous cheer for their home teams and individuals -- it also has a darker shade to it in the form of boos and jeers for the opposition.
That theme was played out once against at the Maracana on Tuesday where Brazil were playing against Sweden in the semifinals of the women's football competition.
It was a weekday and there were close to 70,000 people in attendance long before the kick-off. The audience was large as it was loud, and it was extremely partisan. No surprise in that.
By the time this reporter arrived at the stadium, the first half was already over. But there was still enough time and excitement left in the match -- all of the second half plus the extra time culminating in a penalty shoot-out -- to soak in the electrifying atmosphere.
Every time the Brazilians made a forward move, even if inside their own half, there was a deafening roar from the crowd. Even when the hosts were defending a goal-scoring opportunity by the Swedes, there were loud cheers as though the hosts had scored a goal. In fact on the way up the staircase of the stadium towards the end of the first half there was such a loud roar that it seemed that Brazil had just scored a goal, only to find on the android app that the scoreline was still 0-0.
The crowd kept bellowing out all sorts of chants from the stands every now and then, some of which were very nice while others a bit rude. 'Ole Ole, Marta Marta' and 'Braaasil, Braaasil' were there, and there was 'Formiga, Formiga '(Formiga is a very popular player among the crowd it seemed) every time the midfielder got the ball forward.
Then there was an instantaneous chant reserved for Rafaela Silva, the Olympic gold medallist judoka, who had made an impromptu appearance during the match.
There were some rude gestures pointed towards the referee and opposition players too. But the most common was the 'Mil gols so Pele; Maradona Cheirador', a song which has been belted out at almost all venues during these games, regardless of the sport. This song has a nice rhythm to it, and when sung by thousands, it resembles the ones we usually hear English hooligans chanting during Premier League matches.
The Pele and Maradona part does make it quite an appealing song, even if one doesn't have a clue what the song is all about. But thanks to a local journalist, who happens to speak English, the meaning of the song was finally deciphered.
It is a song belittling Maradona and praising Pele, the journalist explained. This song was created as a riposte to a song made by the Argentines after Brazil's 7-1 defeat against Germany during the World Cup in 2014. And since then this song has become the go-to number when they need to invoke some national pride, and indulge in a little bit of banter.