Thursday 14 December 2017

We've no team there, but that won't stop Irish fans going nuts in Brazil

Emma O'Rourke in red wig and friends
Emma O'Rourke in red wig and friends
Wayne O'Connor

Wayne O'Connor

WORLD Cup fever may not fully hit Irish shores this year but our ex-pats living in Brazil cannot wait for the tournament to get going.

John Keane (24), from Charleville, Co Cork, lives in Campinas, 100km north of Sao Paulo. Portugal's national team is using the city as a training base and John is hoping he will get the opportunity to bump into Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Kerry Group employee admits the mood among locals has been downbeat until this weekend.

"In the last 48 hours it has really kicked off," said John, who will attend England's clash with Uruguay and Chile v Holland.

"Before now you would not have known that the World Cup was on but now, everyday, we are beginning to see more and more green and gold on the streets and on the TV," he added.

Conor Hennessy (31), from Urlingford, Co Kilkenny, is living in Marilia, where his wife Raquel is from, six hours west of Sao Paulo.

He cannot help but notice a subdued atmosphere compared to previous World Cups.

"Back then, the fans painted the streets and there were banners everywhere but now there are a lot less because people are frustrated with how public money is being spent," said Conor.

In Sao Paulo, Emma O'Rourke, a 22-year-old English teacher from Mullingar in Westmeath, concedes that the majority of Brazilians there do not want the country hosting the tournament.

"I am here with my Brazilian boyfriend and his family are totally against the tournament being held here," said Emma. "There has not been a lot of excitement to be honest – more chaos than anything because of the strikes on the buses and today there is a metro strike.

"This week I noticed more Brazilian flags hanging up around the place, but nothing exciting like you would expect."

Nonetheless, Emma is hoping to make the best of the tournament.

"On the days of the Brazilian games I will probably go to a friend's house for a barbecue or to a bar to watch the matches," she said. "The tickets for the matches here in the city were very difficult to get but I am still hoping a ticket will fall from the sky."

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