Huge crowds cheered the men in yellow in Brazil’s opening World Cup victory. And most of them weren’t even Brazilian.
Doha, Qatar – There are low-flying F-16s and more than 60,000 Brazilian fans celebrate a World Cup goal. what is louder
I got my answer after Richarlison scored Brazil’s second goal against Serbia in the teams’ World Cup opener at the Lusail Stadium on Thursday. And there were no F-16s present.
Between the uproar and the inviting fouls, Brazil kept captivating the 89,000 or so in the stadium. For either of those two goals, the noise levels would have been well in excess of what Lusail Stadium has experienced during a handful of football games and concerts that have taken place there.
Brazilians love their football. With the show of hands on Sunday, so does the rest of the world. And that’s no secret.
When Kozhikode in India and Lyari in Pakistan come out with murals, flags and replica T-shirts bearing the names of Brazilian greats, past and present, you’ll know the World Cup is on.
And now Doha has been added to that list.
Most of the Brazilian fans at Lusail Stadium on Thursday night were not from Brazil. They have been dubbed “fake fans” by some segments of Western media, but the authenticity and integrity of this group, who knew and praised what Brazilian players have been bringing to football for decades, was not fake.
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 the success that brings fans to the court… but it’s also the swag and skill.
“The way they play, oh my god, it’s beyond fantastic, the pace, the attack, the style, it’s stunning,” Ashiq, who hails from the state of Kerala in India, told Al Jazeera after the scintillating show on Thursday.
He shivered as he thought of the most appropriate adjective to describe the performance before continuing.
“I can’t remember when I started supporting Brazil, but I’m glad I did. It’s amazing how they keep bringing out the class of players.”
Laeth from Jordan recalled when he started following the Men in Yellow and why.
“We’ve seen them play since we were young. It’s just fascinating to see them play: the skill, the skills,” he told Al Jazeera.
“You see the second gate [Richarlison with a scissor kick after a deft show of pure control] and you will know what I am talking about. No other team can score a goal like that. Only Brazil.”
Carina and Merari are two Mexican friends visiting Qatar for the World Cup. While her national team remains her true love of football, Carina donned the yellow Brazil on Thursday and they both emerged to support Brazil.
“It’s because they’re part of America, but also because of football,” said Carina.
“I like them because of the players, the star quality they have. We’re Mexicans, but we love soccer. That’s the main reason we came to see this game,” Merari replied.
Seeing all this love pouring in from all over the world has surprised Brazilians, including Juliana.
“It’s amazing to see how popular the team is around the world,” she said. “The effect it has is amazing. We saw how many non-Brazilians supported Brazil. Words cannot describe how we feel when our team is supported like this. It’s nice to see others supporting Brazil.”
Brazil has not won the World Cup since 2002. The closest they got was home in 2014.
However, the memories of this semi-final will not bring much joy to the fans. Instead, they hope that samba will bring joy to the desert this year.