SAO PAULO - In a snap poll, researchers have found that the Brazilian economy has ground to a near-complete standstill. The researchers said that they have found only one cause for this mass event: Argentina's horrific play in the World Cup qualifiers.

"We're dealing with a nationwide case of schadenfreude," said Sao Paulo Police Chief Paulino Arantes. "The Argentina National Team came into this week so arrogantly, and leave so humbled. It's just too delicious."

Entering this week, Argentina and coach Diego Maradona had their destiny in their hands. However, following thorough losses to Brazil and Paraguay, the Argentina side has slipped to fifth place in CONMEBOL qualifying. If qualifying ended today, the Argentines would be forced to play a home-and-away playoff with CONCACAF No. 4 Costa Rica with the winner going to South Africa.

For his part, Maradona has sounded decidedly unhinged: "We've qualified via play-offs in the past and nobody died," said Maradona.

For Brazilians - who saw their side qualify for the 2010 World Cup with its sound thumping of Argentina on Saturday - it's been too much too take. Years of hearing Maradona state that he was better than national treasure Pele, trash talk and the emergence of Lionel Messi as a player being hailed as better than most Brazilians have made this a rivalry for the ages. And no that rivalry is a one-sided blowout.

"Maradona, he's a great coach, eh? And Messi? Player of the year, sure. Goals against us? Zero," said carpenter Ricardo Alves, who like many was physically and emotionally unable to work. "Argentina may not make the World Cup ... I'm sorry, I need to lay down. This is just so good, I need to enjoy it for a day."

Experts said they expect the Brazilian economy to bounce back next week. Researchers say the "We Are So Much Better Than Argentina" effect should kick in on Monday and lead to "an incredible surge in productivity," said researchers, who added that this was possibly the greatest outbreak of schadenfreude (Now to be called "B3A1") in South American history.


Crossposted at William K. Wolfrum Chronicles