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News > Latin America

Brazil's Lula Takes Swipe at Team's Opening 2018 World Cup Game

  • Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

    Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. | Photo: Reuters

Published 20 June 2018

“Qualifying is one thing, the World Cup is different,” Lula wrote.

Having been granted a television in his prison cell, former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has taken a swipe at his national football team after a draw in their 2018 World Cup opening match against Switzerland.

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“Switzerland was strong on defense, playing rough, and didn't allow Brazil to play. They also brought Neymar to a halt by fouling him over and over again,” he wrote.

His review of Brazil's performance was read by a reporter on the former president's Workers' Party TV. “The first week of the World Cup proves Germany is not unbeatable and, of the top players, only Cristiano Ronaldo proved his worth,” Lula continued, in reference to the Portuguese striker's hat-trick against rival Spain.

The former head of state advised the Brazilian team to “be careful” for their upcoming match against Costa Rica on Friday. “We all know one day the little David can defeat the giant Goliath.”

Lula has been detained at the federal police headquarters in Curitiba since April 7 on corruption and money laundering charges that he and his supporters flatly deny.

A few days earlier, Brazil’s favorite presidential candidate gave an exclusive interview to Granma telling the Cuban media outlet his imprisonment is “political" and that by locking him up the right-wing attack not only him but also the PT and democracy.

“They did so against a model of national development and social inclusion. The (2016) coup (of Dilma Rousseff) was to do away with the rights of workers and retirees, gained over the last 60 years. And the people are realizing that. And we are going to need a lot of organization to return to a popular government in Brazil, with sovereignty, social inclusion, and economic development.”

Despite his conviction and imprisonment, events that many legal experts and observers attribute to lawfare and a salacious mainstream media campaign, Lula has topped every 2018 electoral poll conducted by Vox Populi, Ibope, Datafolha, Data Poder 360, Instituto Parana, the National Confederation of Transportation/MDA and Ipsos.

Lula's two terms in office were marked by a slew of social programs, lifting millions of Brazilians out of poverty and removing the country from the U.N. World Hunger Map.

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