A huge party punctuated with horns and fireworks took over Brazil late Tuesday as the country celebrated its team's first victory at South Africa 2010, a 2-1 win against Korea DPR.
In many cities, such as Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, the day became almost an unofficial holiday, with banks and offices closing during the afternoon match as workers showed the football festivities Brazil is known for. Even President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a passionate football fan, cleared his agenda for the game and the rest of the day to take in the game in Brasilia.
The biggest bash took place on Copacabana beach in Rio, where more than 20,000 people congregated to watch the game on a giant television. Green and gold dominated, with the crowd waving Brazilian flags and trumpeting their support for the team seen as one of the favorites to win the FIFA World Cup™.
If Brazil triumphs, it will be the sixth title for A Seleção. The first half of the game against North Korea saw overconfidence evaporate as the Asians played resiliently. The two goals scored by Brazil in the second half quickly saw smiles and cheers return. "The team has finally come out," boasted one fan, Jorgeane de Souza, 22.
A last-minute goal by North Korea, though, dented the Brazilian euphoria. Post-game assessments were, in the main, not pretty. "It was horrible. They played badly," Arnaldo Coelho, 41, said.
As night took over, some victory parties took place, but Brazilian fans were mostly left hoping that the dazzle of their squad would emerge brighter in the next game: Sunday, against Côte d'Ivoire.