TIME - After Neymar's injury, the Brazilian team may need all the magic it can get
Magic, or some other supernatural tendency, has had a long and weirdly intimate relationship with the game of soccer.
This isn’t simply a matter of the clairvoyant octopus or turtle that may have accurately predicted the outcome of a World Cup match or two. When Ghana’s national team, for instance, lost to Zambia in the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, Ghanaian coach Goran Stevanovic pointed to deliberate acts of witchcraft between his players as a plausible explanation for the upset. (Stevanovic, it should be said, was fired shortly afterward.)
So let us be disturbed, but not particularly surprised, by Helio Sillman, the Brazilian “black-magic enthusiast” who, via a voodoo doll in his occult curio shop in northern Rio de Janeiro, has plans to “take [Germany’s] top player and bind his legs so he can’t run on the pitch,” reports AFP.
Brazil will play Germany on Tuesday afternoon in what’ll likely be a riveting match, considering the near infallibility of both teams so far. In the past few weeks, Brazil has trounced Cameroon, Chile, Croatia and Mexico; Sillman has voodoo dolls of players from all four teams sitting in a bowl in his shop. The match results are proof, he says, that his magic works.
The Brazilian team may need all the magic it can get. Neymar, the team’s golden player, apparently fell outside the domain of Sillman’s protective aura when he was kneed in the back during Friday’s quarterfinal match against Colombia, causing a particularly nasty lumbar vertebra fracture that’ll keep him benched for the remainder of the World Cup.
And I was so confident going in to this week, too. I mean, what more could I have hoped for? A relatively easy quarter final game for the German squad, fresh legs going in to the next round to play a Brazillian squad that has seemed shaky at times and just lost it's best player to a casual broken back. Now don't get me wrong, nothing against Brazil here, in fact I think Neymar may have made a case this tourney to crack my top 5 coolest players list (extremely coveted title) with that haircut alone. But, in a very serious bet with friends, I picked Deutschland to win the whole shebang before the World Cup even started and a bet's a bet.
So I'm walking in to this week without a care in the world, right? Nothing but blue skies and German goals to look forward to, right? Wrong. Dead wrong, because fuckin Helio Sillman* decides he's going to save Brazil from the Neymar injury by bounding together the legs of Germany's top player with his crazy black magic. "Oh, that's crap, magic isn't real." Oh yeah? Well tell that to Cameroon, Chile, Croatia and Mexico, who each have a doll sitting in Helio's magic den while they're sitting on their asses at home cus they fuckin lost. Oh, and what's the one doll that didn't get made? Colombia. What team decided to Bruce Lee Neymar's back in to smithereens? Colombia. You can call it coincidence, but I'm gonna go ahead and start hedging my bets STAT because when Thomas Mueller starts just tripping all over the place tomorrow for no apparent reason, I'll be glad I didn't snicker at Helio fuckin Sillman.
* ignorant question of the morning: is that a Jewish name? Sillman? Does Brazil have Jewish people? Are Jewish Brazilians better at black magic? Does that make this overall question more ignorant? Should I just quit while I'm behind? Okay, cool cool cool.