The Prime Minister of the Netherlands celebrated his team’s victory over the United States in the World Cup by mocking President Joe Biden: “Football won”. Alberto Fernández thanked the Argentina national team for the “soul-filling” moments. So as not to displease anyone, the new British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak saw the England vs. Wales duel between an English girl and a Welsh girl.
Leaders from around the world are sending positive vibes to their teams and celebrating the results achieved so far. With one exception: Jair Bolsonaro (PL). The nationalist Brazilian president, who created an image of a football fan, with dozens of public appearances wearing team shirts, continues without making any comment about the World Cup in Qatar.
Bolsonaro did not even reciprocate the support received, during the election, from some of the main players in the Brazilian national team, including star player Neymar, who was injured in the opening match and was out of the games against Switzerland and Cameroon. Neymar, who declared his vote for Bolsonaro at a difficult moment in the campaign, on the eve of the first round, did not receive public encouragement from the president.
The posture contrasts, for example, with that of the Copa America last year, played in Brazil. When the team faced Venezuela, Bolsonaro posted a photo watching the game on television. In 2018, when the tournament also took place in Brazil, he even entered the Maracanã lawn and posed with the cup among the players.
Interestingly, his last public appearance before the electoral defeat in October was welcoming the Flamengo delegation on their return to Rio with the Libertadores cup. On election day, he went to the airport to receive the players and pose with the trophy. Afterwards, he was only seen in public again on the 26th, at a military event, in which he did not speak.
Traditionally, major sporting events such as the World Cup are used by political leaders to approach the population, at a time of national unity in support of the same team or delegation.
That’s what Argentine President Alberto Fernández did, for example, yesterday. “Thanks, [seleção da] Argentina for this immense joy. [Agradeço] the players and the entire technical team for their effort, camaraderie and the great football they are providing us. For those of us who love this sport and our country, these moments fill our souls,” he wrote on Twitter.
Joe Biden, president of the USA, recorded a video interacting with players of the national team, wishing the team good luck before the game against the Netherlands and warning that the sport is called “soccer”. He took a reversal from the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte: “Sorry, Joe, but football won”, celebrated the European politician.
Emmanuel Macron, President of France, celebrated today’s victory over Poland with a photo of Mbappé and Giroud and the direct message: “on Wednesdays”. Defeated, Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki congratulated the team. “We’ve all seen what a great team we have. Many thanks to the whole team, the coach and coaching staff,” he wrote.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese also thanked the team. “You made Australia proud on the biggest stage in the world,” he wrote, before sharing photos of the Australian crowd.
Bolsonaro’s silence on the World Cup contrasts with the comments made by Lula (PT), president-elect who will take office again in 2023. On his social networks, he has shown his support for Brazil and even wore the yellow shirt of the selection, which was marked by being used by Bolsonaristas in recent years.