Following the World Cup elimination, Brazilian football fans are mostly supporting the Portuguese team. The demand for Portugal T-shirts, flags and other articles has significantly increased since Brazil's defeat to France on Saturday July 1, local media said on Tuesday.
In the past days, street peddlers in Rio are selling Portugal's flags to drivers stuck in the city's traffic jams. In Sao Paulo, three major sportswear stores reported the official Portugal T-shirt, which costs 150 reais (US$ 70), is the best selling item, ahead of the T-shirts of Brazil and all other local pro football teams.
Two reasons can explain the popularity of the Portugal team. First, there is the fact that Luiz Felipe Scolari, a Brazilian, is the head coach of Portugal. Seen as a spontaneous fellow, Felipao, as he is known here, coached the Brazilian team in its 2002 World Cup winning.
Additionally, Brazilians have strong blood and cultural ties with Portugal. For over three centuries, Brazil was a colony of Portugal and the country's official language is Portuguese. The migration of the Portuguese to Brazil continued throughout the 20th century and most of Brazilians have a Portuguese heritage. Since the 1980s, Brazilians have migrated to Portugal as it joined the European Union and job market conditions have improved.
As the demand for Portugal's jersey increases, the interest for the T-shirt of Brazil's national team has dramatically fallen. The Commercial Association of Rio de Janeiro estimates Rio shops have about 300,000 Brazil T-shirts in stock. For 10 reais a piece, it is a 3 million reais (US$1.4 million) loss just with T-shirt.