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Home >> Sports
UPDATED: 08:40, July 04, 2006
Feature: Surprise, sadness and anger following Brazil's World Cup exit
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Eighteen-year-old Bruno Cunha, a college student, had an unpleasant new experience: for the first time he watched Brazil failing to reach the World Cup final.

"We were not even among the top four teams," Cunha said after France beat Brazil 1-0 in Saturday's quarterfinals.

The student is part of a generation under 20 years old in Brazil who had never experienced the national team's failure to make the final. He was only two years old when Brazil was last stopped before the final match, which happened in the 1990 World Cup in Italy. Brazil won the championship titles in 1994 and 2002 and lost the final match to France in 1998 .

The older generations did not take the defeat easy either. The depressing atmosphere of downtown Rio after Brazil's loss contrasted with the excitement of the previous weeks. The horns were silent and the bars empty, while people collected the remaining national flags and green and yellow ribbons that ornamented almost all the streets and squares in the region. It is as if every Brazilian has a hangover.

In the International Guarulhos Airport, in Sao Paulo, some of the national team players arriving on Monday from Frankfurt, Germany, chose to use a private exit to avoid meeting journalists and angry fans in the lobby. Other players, such as team captain Cafu, passed through the lobby and had to face fans who shouted "traitor" and "mercenary" while he spoke to reporters.

"We lost one match and it is not fair to erase all that was done by our winning generation of players. In four World Cups, we made it three times to the final match and we won the championship title in two," said Cafu.

Head coach Carlos Alberto Parreira arrived in Rios Tom Jobim International Airport and had also used a private exit. He headed to a hotel where he held a press conference.

"There was no lack of will. We have to stop looking for people to blame and admit France played very well. Zidane killed us. He is an outstanding player.

"When Pele and Garrincha played well, not even five players could stop them," Parreira said in the press conference.

There has been mounting speculation that Parreira would be replaced with Vanderlei Luxemburgo regarded as the most likely replacement.

Luxemburgo, who coached the team between 1998 and 2000, currently works for local team Santos, following an unsuccessful period at Spains Real Madrid.

Most Brazilians, though, seem to prefer Luiz Felipe Scolari for the job. It is not clear whether Scolari, who headed the Brazilian team in the 2002 Cup and is currently coaching Portugal, would accept a possible invitation to resume its work with the Brazilian team.

Besides the morale blow, Brazil's World Cup exit has also led to financial losses. Several companies had to cancel advertising campaigns in Brazilian TV networks, newspapers and magazines.

The commercial promotions had football as their themes with some players featured, frequently Ronaldinho who had a disappointing performance in the tournament. On-going promotions have been suspended, while new ones will simply never be aired.

Owners of shops that sell souvenirs with Brazilian team themes, such as T-shirts, shorts, flags and ribbons, do not know what to do with the stock.

Bars and restaurants in Rio, which had served as gathering points for football fans, will have a total loss of 2 million reais (US$910,000) in the wake of the team's elimination, estimates the sector association Abrasel-RJ.

Source: Xinhua

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