RIO DE JANEIRO – Fabricio Goncalves could hardly contain himself.
"Brazil, decime qué se siente,
tener en casa a tu papá.
Te juro que aunque pasen los años,
Nunca nos vamos a olvidar."
It goes on, but the basic gist is: How do you like us now? (And Maradona is better than Pele).
The natives knew the song well after hearing it for so long. It had been shouted by Argentines throughout his country for most of the last month. Brazil's hated rivals have invaded this place, taking over Copacabana Beach and the metro and everywhere in between, draping their flag over anything they could find, and belting out the same chants deep into the night.
Goncalves thought it was time to turn the tables and change the lyrics up a bit, so he antagonized any Argentina fan within earshot with the song that had endlessly rung throughout Brazil during the tournament, with some subtle tweaks to the lyrics.
"[Argentina fans] have been obnoxious," Goncalves said. "They have not been humble. They came to this country, to our country, and they were loud and mean and not respectful. [Germany] came to Brazil and they supported Brazil. They were respectful and they were kind and tried to experience our culture and enjoy our lifestyle.
"This was a victory for professionalism and respect and how you should act when you're visiting another country."
Goncalves wasn't alone with his sentiment. When Germany's Mario Goetze coolly gathered Andre Schurrle's cross and delivered a brilliant strike in the 112th minute of the World Cup final to bury Argentina, the Brazilians in attendance at Maracana Stadium roared in approval.
Deafening cheers rained down from the crowd of 74,738 – a reaction that surely echoed across Brazil, the collective exhale of millions.
Ten minutes later, it was confirmed: The Brazilian people wouldn't have to suffer Argentina hoisting the trophy on their home soil. They wouldn't have to suffer the endless celebration that would've ensued on their streets. They wouldn't have to hear any more noise from 'las pequeñas cucarachas'.
"It's been annoying the past month [listening to Argentina fans celebrating]," said a Rio native named Johnny, "It would've been bad if they won it."
But they didn't – not even Lionel Messi could save Argentina this time around, against this German team.
And so Brazil rejoiced. Suddenly the World Cup was bearable again and all was well.
Well, almost all. A sixth title would've been ideal. Not losing 7-1 to Germany in the semifinal would've been nice. Going out on a high note with a win over the Netherlands on Saturday would've been a decent consolation prize. But so long as they didn't have to watch their hated rivals parade through their streets, chanting their chants, they could cope.
"It would've been nice seeing Brazil win it," said 63-year-old Carlos as he left the stadium, "but Argentina losing in the final is pretty satisfying. That was great."
It was more than Argentina losing though.
Brazil is a proud nation that appreciates quality football more than most and they saw one of the most complete teams in history blitz through this tournament with talent, style and, perhaps most important to the host, class.
Brazilians showed exactly how much they admired the European nation late in their humiliating semifinal loss, giving the Germans a standing ovation when the score reached 7-0.
And the respect and adulation didn't stop there.
"After the match against Brazil, after we beat the host 7-1," said Germany coach Joachim Loew, "the disappointment was enormous in this country, and when we left the stadium and we went to the airport – it took us an hour – and there were suddenly thousands of Brazilians on the sidewalks applauding. This was something that was absolutely fascinating.
"And when we went back to our camp, we were 10, 15 minutes away, and we saw [Brazilian] people on the sidewalks waving flags that said Germany. That was something so unbelievable and impressive that it went right under your skin.
"We went and spoke to the people and the people received us with joy and sympathy. Thank you, Brazil."
Argentina fans have been incessantly pouring into its neighbor's territory since well before the start of the month-long competition. They have camped out in vans and usurped beaches and made their presence felt in nearly every venue, drowning out other fan bases with their passionate chants.
The Argentines in attendance kept that narrative going, belting out the national anthem before the game and serenading their team throughout with one song or another. Some of the songs were about Argentina pride. Most of them made fun of Brazil in some way.
The dynamic changed a bit with the late-game gut-punch from Goetze, but they kept trying to will Argentina to a win. The neighbors to the southwest desperately wanted to deliver a title at the iconic stadium that was the site of Brazil's devastating and infamous 1950 World Cup final loss - one final, brutal jab at the host nation.
But alas, Messi and Co. couldn't break through. Germany was just too good, and a 1-0 result went into the books.
Argentina fans took over this city, country and competition, but the people of Brazil can rest easy now – without the chants ringing in their ears – and, if they want, bask in the schadenfreude.
As Sao Paulo native Joao put it: "Watching Argentina lose here was special."
- Sports & Recreation