What's Buzzing:

On Brazil's streets, a homemade fan-zone

The Associated Press
On Brazil's streets, a homemade fan-zone
.

View gallery

FORTALEZA, Brazil (AP) -- April 1st Street is directly opposite Arena Castelao, but looks like it could be a lot further away from the imposing 63,000-seat reflective glass-and-steel stadium.

Many of the lived-in houses look half-built, and most of its residents had little hope of getting a ticket to Tuesday's Brazil-Mexico match in this northeastern city - priced roughly equivalent of a month's pay on minimum wage.

But the party has been underway for days.

Brazil flags are sprayed on the wall - with the country's motto 'Order and Progress' filled in by brush - and lines of yellow-and-green paper flags are strung overhead for about 200 meters.

Corner store owner Carlos da Silva didn't help put up the decorations, but paid a hefty contribution.

''Everybody helps a bit. People are excited that Brazil is playing in our city,'' says da Silva, sitting behind the cash register, as people wander in an out to watch the afternoon match on his TV.

''We have our own party.''

Most of the people here prefer to celebrate near their home than take a crowded bus downtown, where the official fan-zone is located on the tower-block lined ocean front.

It's the same across the country, where streets in mostly run-down city neighborhoods are brightly decorated for the World Cup, with old CDs, balloons and children's' footballs added to the terrace-to-terrace bunting, next to newly-painted murals of the tournament mascot Fuleco, and national coach Luis Felipe Scolari.

Overnight, broad green-and-yellow stripes appear on the side of construction sites, occasionally coming with a hand-painted message of racial tolerance or religious devotion.

''It's always been like this at World Cups. The decorations are nothing new. People like to enjoy themselves,'' said Brazilian-born Humberto Veras, who traveled to Fortaleza from his home in Redwood, California.

Veras joined Brazil and Mexico fans outside Arena Castelao on Tuesday, playing a small drum, as local residents joined ticket-holders for an impromptu party, where hotdog and burger sellers set up shop out of the trunk of their cars, and vendors offered Brazil shirts pinned to clothing lines.

Brazil captain Thiago Silva thanked Fortaleza's residents for the reception they received before the two teams played out an exciting 0-0 draw.

''There way we were welcomed here in the northeast has been amazing. We really feel at home. All of this makes us very motivated,'' he said before the game.

''When you sing the national anthem, hug the person next to you. Sing it with us, and we will feel you beside us when we are playing.''

---

Follow Gatopoulos at https://www.twitter.com/dgatopoulos

View Comments (0)
  • 50th anniversary leaves English football with mixed feelings

    50th anniversary leaves English football with mixed feelings

    By Steve Tongue LONDON (Reuters) - Fifty years on from the greatest day in the history of English football, pessimists fear that the prospect of becoming world champions again is as remote as it has ever been. On that day, Saturday, July 30 1966, … More »

    Reuters - 3 hours ago
  • No Jackett required as Wolves sack manager

    No Jackett required as Wolves sack manager

    (Reuters) - Wolverhampton Wanderers have sacked manager Kenny Jackett just over a week after China-based Fosun Group took over the English Championship club from long-standing owner Steve Morgan. Main Wolves director Jeff Shi had decided to … More »

    Reuters - 7 hours ago
  • Liverpool's new goalkeeper Karius suffers broken hand

    Liverpool's new goalkeeper Karius suffers broken hand

    Liverpool's new German goalkeeper Loris Karius is set to be out for up to 10 weeks with a broken hand suffered in a 1-0 friendly defeat by Chelsea during the club's U.S. tour, British media reported on Friday. The 23-year-old, who joined the Reds … More »

    Reuters - 8 hours ago
  • Ex-Guatemalan football chief pleads guilty to U.S. bribery charges

    Ex-Guatemalan football chief pleads guilty to U.S. bribery charges

    By Mica Rosenberg NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former president of Guatemala's football federation pleaded guilty on Friday to charges he received bribes to award lucrative media and marketing rights for football matches, the latest development in the … More »

    Reuters - 9 hours ago
  • Colorado-New York City preview

    For the Colorado Rapids and the New York City FB, the turnaround from Thursday night's All-Star Game to the restart of the MLS season is a quick one. Colorado (10-2-8) is three points in back of MLS overall leader Dallas for first place in the … More »

    AP - Sports - 10 hours ago