Brazil halt as World Cup party begins
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – In a yellow and green bikini, Neymar jerseys and sparkling tops straight out of carnival, the Brazilians dropped everything on Thursday to see the national team do their much-anticipated World Cup debutexploding with joy at their first victory.
Wrapped up in front of a giant screen on Rio de Janeiro’s famous Copacabana beach, in the middle of what would normally be a working day, fans of all ages cheered Brazilian football’s 2-0 win over Serbia – and cheered allowed to dream of a record. sixth World Cup title could be on the horizon.
Standing on the seaside avenue in his Brazil shirt, construction worker Benildo Ferreira burst into joy at the second of two goals, both fired home by Tottenham Hotspur striker Richarlison.
“I was worried” during the scoreless first half, Ferreira, 51, told AFP as fireworks exploded above his head.
“But Brazil will reach the final, and we will win.”
It was an anguished wait for many in football-mad Brazil, whose feverish passion at the time of the World Cup often draws comparisons with a nation going to war.
Milton de Souza nervously stirs his caipirinha at a seaside bar as he waits for the first goal.
“We just have to be patient,” said the 58-year-old pensioner, who wore green and yellow – like pretty much the whole country, it seemed.
He was cautious about whether the “Selecao” could end his 20-year drought for the title.
“Nothing is certain in football.”
Others already dared to dream.
“The Cup is ours this year, without a doubt,” said 23-year-old Marcos Vinicius, who accurately predicted a Richarlison brace ahead of the game.
Downtown Rio, Sao Paulo and other centers of Latin America’s biggest economy have meanwhile turned into ghost towns as Brazil pause to watch the game.
Street vendor Kaua Suarez, 19, and three customers were huddled around a cellphone he had placed at his hot dog stand, watching the game in Rio’s nearly deserted downtown.
“I had to work, so I found a way to watch anyway. I will watch every game, no matter the time,” he said.
“Football is the dream of all children in the favelas of Brazil. We are crazy about it. Brazilians are born to love football.
Even President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva took the time to haggle political horses ahead of his Jan. 1 inauguration to watch.
He tweeted a photo of himself and his wife wearing national team shirts, a television in the background, with the message: “Congratulations Brazil. On the way to title number six!
The small army of vendors selling shirts, flags, scarves, hats and countless other World Cup gear were meanwhile happy that Lula’s victory in Brazil’s controversial October elections finally put an end to to a taboo on wearing yellow and green, the colors that defeated far-right President Jair Bolsonaro and his supporters had adopted it as their own.
“People were resistant. They really waited until the last minute to buy (yellow and green gear), because of the political situation,” said saleswoman Giselle de Freitas, 41, who sold a plethora of earrings, tiaras and other accessories on Copacabana.
For most, World Cup fever eventually won out.
Not for everyone, however.
Hotel doorman Osvaldo Alves, a slim 74-year-old with thinning white hair and a bright red uniform, was one of the few not watching the game.
“The country always drops everything when the ‘Selecao’ plays. We sit around watching football and don’t solve any of our problems,” he said from his post at the city center hotel where he works.
“It’s a disease from which Brazil suffers. Brazilians are just crazy about football.
To subscribe to MORE APPLICANT to access The Philippine Daily Inquirer and over 70 titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to news, download as early as 4am and share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.