The Brazilian national team's 7-1 loss to Germany in the World Cup semi-final could contain some good news for what will likely be a devastated, demoralized and angry nation, according to a group of analysts at UBS.
In a report published before the beginning of the tournament, they argued that a loss for Brazil would ultimately lead to a stronger Brazilian economy.
"We think the World Cup matters a lot," said Jorge Mariscal, one of the authors of the report, told me in an interview last month.
Despite Brazil's love of soccer, the tournament has been heavily protested in the streets by ordinary Brazilians who feel the expense of holding it has drawn scarce public money away from more important uses. "The level of frustration with the government and the social conditions has reached unprecedented levels," Mariscal said, adding that according to polls, less than half the country supported holding the tournament in Brazil. "That's very unusual for a country that lives and dies for soccer."
Mariscal argued that a win for Brazil would vindicate the decision of the government, led by President Dilma Rousseff, to host the Cup. If the team loses, Mariscal argued, Rousseff's reelection campaign later this year could become even more difficult. "There's tremendous pressure on the players to deliver and on the government to deliver," Mariscal said.
Mariscal and his colleagues wrote that her defeat would lead to a rally in Brazilian stocks, once everyone stops sulking.
"Brazilian stocks have rallied in recent months as prospects for more market-friendly candidates have increased while hopes for Dilma have declined," they wrote. "With that in mind, investors should be open to the possibility that World Cup disappointments may put upward pressure on Brazilian markets and vice versa."
It follows that a rout, like the one the Brazilians just experienced, would be especially bad for Rousseff.
Small consolation for Brazilians. I didn't expect to have to write this post, but in soccer, every match has its surprises.