At Brazil’s first World Cup victory, a huge crowd cheered for the men in yellow. And most of them were not even Brazilians.
Doha, Qatar “There are low-flying F-16s and over 60,000 Brazilian fans are celebrating a goal at the World Cup. What’s louder?
I got the answer after Richarlison scored Brazil’s second goal against Serbia in the first leg of the World Cup at Lusail Stadium on Thursday. And there were no F-16s.
In between taunting an opponent and calling for fouls, Brazil continued to hypnotize the 89,000+ people in the stadium. With either of these two objectives, the noise level would be far above that seen at Lusail Stadium during the several football games and concerts that have taken place there.
Brazilians love their football. If you raise your hands on Sunday, the rest of the world will do the same. And it’s not a secret.
When Kozhikode in India and Lyari in Pakistan release murals, flags and replica T-shirts with the names of great Brazilians past and present, you know it’s the World Cup.
And now Doha has been added to this list.
Most of the Brazilian fans at Lusail Stadium on Thursday night were not from Brazil. Some segments of the Western media called them “fake fans”, but there was no falsehood about the authenticity and honesty of this group, who knew and lauded what the Brazilian players had given to football for decades.
Brazil has won the World Cup five times, more than any other team. They lost two finals and also finished third twice. It’s definitely a success that draws fans in the yard… but it’s also swag and skill.
“The way they play, oh my God, it’s beyond fantasy, the pace, the attack, the style – it’s breathtaking,” Ashik, who hails from the Indian state of Kerala, told Al Jazeera after Thursday’s flashy show.
He trembled as he thought of the most appropriate adjective to describe the performance before continuing.
“I don’t remember when I started supporting Brazil, but I’m glad I did. It’s amazing how they keep releasing players like this.”
Laet from Jordan remembered when he started stalking the people in yellow, and also why.
“We have watched them play since childhood. It’s just interesting to watch them play: abilities, skills,” he told Al Jazeera.
“You see the second goal [Richarlison with a scissor kick after a deft show of pure control] and you will understand what I am talking about. No other team can score such a goal. Only Brazil.
Karina and Merari are two Mexican friends who came to Qatar for the World Cup. While their national team remains their true football love, on Thursday Karina donned the Brazil yellow jersey and both came out to support Brazil.
“It’s because they are part of America and also because of football,” Kareena said.
“I like them because of the players, the stellar quality they have. We are Mexicans, but we love football. This is the main reason why we came to watch this match,” Merari replied.
Seeing all this love pouring in from all over the world surprised Brazilians, Juliana included.
“It’s amazing to see how popular the team is all over the world,” she said. “The impact he has is amazing. We have seen many non-Brazilians support Brazil. Words cannot describe what we feel when our team is so supported. Seeing other people supporting Brazil is wonderful.”
Brazil has not won a World Cup since 2002. The closest they came to this at home was in 2014.
However, the memories of that semi-final will not bring much joy to the fans. Instead, they hope that samba will bring joy to the desert this year.