Brazilians Carry Joy to Streets After World Cup Championship
By BRETT FERRY
At 7:15 a.m. Sunday at the Rod and Gun Club in Edgartown, more than 100 people had their eyes set on a 20-inch TV screen in the corner of the room. Brazil was playing Germany in the final game of the World Cup in Yokohama, Japan. In the room, yellow, green and blue flags and soccer jerseys to match made it clear this was not the place to cheer for Germany.
Some fans stood groggy-eyed with hot cups of coffee; others stood groggy-eyed with cold cervezas. The Portuguese chatter and commentary rose and fell with the tempo of the match. An early breakaway toward the goal by the beloved Ronaldo of the Brazilian team drew most of the spectators out of their seats. His shot narrowly missed the goal, but he got the blood flowing in his Island fans.
As the group woke up more the cheers got louder. The buzz in the room quickly rose to a roar when a Brazilian penalty kick deflected off the top post of the German goal. Another close call, shot left the game scoreless at the half.
At halftime the group broke from the TV set, the Brazilian music came on and the fans poured outside to release some energy under the morning sun. Youthful enthusiasm and happy tension ran through the fans, both men and women, young and old. Some grouped together dressed in their patriotic colors for photographs to remember the day.
"Oh yeah, it's the number one sport," said Antonio Sylva. "It has been tough back in Brazil trying to keep the kids in school during the World Cup games." Mr. Sylva, from Brazil, is the head chef and co-owner of Ipanema Restaurant in Vineyard Haven.
At the beginning of the second half, another Brazil penalty kick was narrowly deflected by the fingertips of the German goalkeeper. The group, then watching on two TVs, was immediately drawn back into the intense, still-scoreless game.
Well into the second half, the urgency of a goal began to drive the crowd. Beer cans danced across tables as fans drumrolled a penalty kick by Ronaldo. It had become clear that he is Brazil's Michael Jordan of soccer.
"It's a very hard game," said Mr. Sylva of the final game against the Germans.
Then came Brazil's first goal.
The small room and its low ceilings could barely contain the eruption. They leapt from their seats in frenzy. Grown men jumped up and down, hugging their friends and spilling beer. "Brazil!" they chanted, which sounded like "Brazoo" with their thick Portuguese accents.
With the score 1-0, the game took on new meaning. The entire group remained standing, pounding on tables and chanting as Brazil turned up the tempo on the field and mounted a sustained assault on the German defense. Fans passed flags to drape over their shoulders, hoping that Brazil could at least hold this one-point lead for the rest of the game. The quieter, perhaps more serious fans stood stoically in the back of the room.
Then came Brazil's second goal.
Madness ensued. Tables left the ground, beers went airborne and shirts came off to be twirled overhead. With a two-point lead in the final match of the Cup, Brazil had all but secured a victory over the Germans.
"This is unbelievable," said Mr. Sylva, "It was sort of a surprise."
With one minute to go, Ronaldo exited the game, drawing a huge applause from this group. As the clock ran out and the game ended the TV screen read: Record Fifth World Cup Title. A Brazilian victory was secured.
The dance music was turned up immediately and fans paraded around the room waving flags and cheering their home team. Outside, group poses became more formal and serious, with the Brazilian flag front and center.
With horns honking and flags in tow, cars peeled out of the parking lot and headed toward the Triangle to meet other groups for a victory parade into Edgartown.
In the town parking lot behind Donaroma's Nursery, cars and people began to line up. They prepared to honk and cheer their way down Main street. Men and women danced together, stirring up clouds of dust. Little kids kicked balls around, mimicking the fancy footwork of their favorite soccer idols. As more groups lined up honking and hollering, the lot became a sea of yellow, green and blue. The howls, horns and whistles of victory could be heard for miles.
"In Brazil, it's crazy, the whole country stops. Everybody goes into the streets," said Luciana Fuller. Ms .Fuller, from Brazil, owns Island Home and Garden, a housecleaning and landscaping business. She was one of the main organizers of the party.
As the motorcade began to pour down Main street, the quiet Sunday strollers downtown had no idea what was about to be unleashed on them. Church services were forced to pause as the fans loudly paid tribute to their country's victory.
The ruckus was hardly ill-received. The spirited motorcade drew cheers of support from almost all of those who lined the street. Pedestrians waved and cheered. The horn honking became contagious throughout town.
Agnel daSilva honked his horn all the way through town as his cousin, Mario daSilva, waved a huge Brazilian flag out the window. Both from Brazil and in their late 20s, they live here now and work in the landscaping trade. As if it had not been obvious yet, Agnel daSilva said, "This is the favorite sport in Brazil. We love it."