Originally published on CBC.ca
It was hard being a fan of Argentina this weekend. In less than three minutes Germany had won the match. It was a devastating end to a dream that had been building for four years. A dream that had itself started out of defeat and now must, once again, start anew.
I expected to find more of this sour beat as I turned to newspapers in Buenos Aires; what I found instead was inspirational. Nearly every article congratulated the Germans for being the better team and applauded their use of tactics. But rather than see the loss as a humiliation, the newspapers argued that it should be viewed as a learning opportunity. So long as lessons are learned then there is nothing to be ashamed about.
Fans across the world would seem to agree. In Brazil, a crowd of hundreds greeted the national team as it arrived. Goal Keeper Júlio César was overwhelmed by the reactions, breaking down in tears as he tried to thank the people for their support.
In a wonderful display of camaraderie the Paraguayan team defended teammate Oscar Cardozo, who missed a crucial penalty kick, stating that he has suffered enough and does not deserve any blame or criticism. They urged their fans to celebrate the team's quarter-final appearance- the best in the nation's history.
Ghana, like Paraguay, missed a crucial penalty kick that would have seen them advance, but they too have chosen to rejoice. They visited Nelson Mandela and have been warmly celebrated across Africa.
And what about Argentina? Well, thousands of fans greeted them upon their return, welcoming them back with flags and even a few vuvuzelas.
Even in defeat, there is much to be proud of.