Archive for Sunday, June 30, 2002

Brazil explodes to celebrate fifth World Cup title

June 30, 2002

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— A nation of 170 million people exploded in ecstasy Sunday morning, blasting plastic trumpets, car horns and fireworks to celebrate Brazil's conquest of an unprecedented fifth World Cup title.

The sound of samba drums set thousands of beach goers dancing in their bathing suits and yellow Brazil jerseys as they celebrated around a giant-screen TV set up on Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach.

It hardly matter that the sun bleached the screen, making it hard to follow the game.

Tears streaked the faces of teen-agers who painted their faces in Brazil's national colors - green and yellow - and strangers hugged each other amid cries of "Brazil! Brazil!" and "Five-time champion!"

"I'm so happy it was difficult for the first half, but now I'm going to party all week. I hope they declare tomorrow a holiday," said 15-year-old Monica Maia, while her other family members were busy jumping up and down waving Brazilian flags.

Many churches were opening late Sunday in honor of the game. Many bars, which stayed open all night in preparation for the game, continued serving as the afternoon approached.

"My daughter is dating a German and even he was rooting for Brazil," said Maria Valeria Barbosa Barcelos as she bounced her 4-year-old granddaughter, wearing a No. 9 Ronaldo shirt, up and down in her arms.

After a difficult qualifying run, Brazilians had been slow to get in the World Cup spirit and now they were making up for lost time.

The victory silenced even the staunchest of critics who had been complained about Brazil's game and strategy until the very last minute.

"Brazil won because of its individual talent, not because it has a cohesive team," said 51-year-old lawyer Jorge Ganem, "But remember this is a young team they still have two or three more Cups in them."

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