It was an incredible match between Brazil and Colombia in the the World Cup quarterfinals yesterday, but in the end Seleção bested Los Cafeteros 2-1. A hard-fought game, and hard loss for James Rodriguez, who was the tournament’s highest scorer at 6 goals (as compared to “only” 4 for Messi, Müller, and Neymar apiece). James took it hard, but was comforted by an especially gracious David Luiz. “Rodriguez was in tears after the match, and noticing this, David Luiz and Dani Alves went over to console him,” NBC reports, noting further, “Then, as the players exited the pitch, Luiz offered to exchange shirts with his opponent. With an arm around the youngster, Luiz turned to the fans and encouraged the crowd to applaud Rodriguez, which they did.”
It was an admirable act of genuine sportsmanship that reminds me of a scene from Homer. In Book 6 of the Iliad, the Greek warrior Diomedes meets with a Trojan ally named Glaucus, with whom he discovers he shares an old connection. Let us avoid each other’s spear in the battle, he says (in Tony Kline’s translation), Let us exchange our armour then, that those around may know that our grandfather’s friendship makes us two friends. The vase to the left by the Kleophrades painter, now in the Met, depicts the scene. To my mind, the photo from Fortaleza this weekend is every bit as powerful as the ancient representation from the Trojan War.