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Brazil freezes for the World Cup and begins to dream of its "hexa"

Thousands of supporters gathered in the fan fest at the iconic Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, only to explode when Richarlison scored two goals in the 62nd and 73rd minutes.

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Brazil freezes for the World Cup and begins to dream of its "hexa"

Thousands of supporters gathered in the fan fest at the iconic Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, only to explode when Richarlison scored two goals in the 62nd and 73rd minutes.

And Neymar's injury, his swollen right ankle, did not spoil the party, going unnoticed. Coach Tite himself hadn't noticed it: "He felt the pain but he decided to stay on the pitch to help his partners, and that's remarkable. I didn't see that he was injured , his attitude amazed me, I didn't see anything!", he commented after the match in Doha.

In Rio, we had brought out the bikinis, the Neymar Jr. flocked jerseys, the little sequined tops and even green and yellow heels... everything recalled the "Canarinha" in the crowd and among the people who, in the surroundings, followed the match on the screens of the bars.

The match took a long time to settle, since it took a long hour of play to see the South American team open the scoring. "You have to be patient, because the World Cup is the World Cup", relativizes Milton de Souza, 58, on vacation in Rio, nervously tossing his caipirinha.

This retiree from Pernambuco (north-east), in a green and yellow polo shirt, thinks that Brazil has a "chance" of winning the title this year, but without guarantee either.

The frustrating first half gave way to a jubilant second half in Copacabana, with fireworks and a cheer that hardworking Benildo Ferreira couldn't conceal.

"I was worried, but Brazil will get to the final and will win it," said the 51-year-old man, wearing the second jersey of the selection, blue.

In other cities of the country too, Brazilians of all ages, families and groups of friends, filled the bars to witness the entry into the running of their national team.

After a long and very tense political sequence with the holding of the presidential election in October, the "fever" of the World Cup began to impose itself, observes Giselle de Freitas, a 41-year-old traveling saleswoman who offers sequined frusques, tiaras and other green and yellow accessories in Copacabana.

"People waited to buy at the last moment, because of political issues," she says of her business.

President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has encouraged Brazilians to wear the Seleçao jersey "with pride", while in recent years outgoing head of state Jair Bolsonaro has done everything to identify the national colors with his far-right political movement.

"Brazil will be champions because we haven't won for twenty years. The selection is strong," Lula said in a video posted on social media, where he appears wearing the yellow jersey watching the match with his wife, Rosangela da Silva.

The teams of England, Spain and France "can annoy us", "but I think God will help us this time", said the ex-president (2003-2010) who is preparing to find the power, in January.

During this time, the center of Rio has become a ghost town, the streets deserted. And the few people there have their eyes on Qatar, like Kaua Suarez, a hot dog and beer vendor, focused with three customers on the screen of a mobile phone on his cart.

"I had to work, so I managed to see the game one way or another," says the 19-year-old, who plans to "see all the matches, regardless of the hourly".

Osvaldo Alves, on the other hand, a 74-year-old hotel porter, is detached. "I'm working, I don't have the patience to see the match," he said, in a suit with a bright red jacket.

And to let go: "The country always freezes when there is a match. We watch football and for us, nothing changes. It's a disease of Brazil, the Brazilian is a football fanatic".

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