Samba atmosphere in Dublin as Brazilians tune in to cheer on Neymar and Co

Heaving mass of expectant fans gather at capital’s Boteco Brazil bar

Laisse Lorrane (front) with Isobella Parisi (right) and David Uzcategui (left) joined Brazilian fans watching the opening game of the World Cup against Croatia in Boteco Brazil at the Ormond on Ormond Quay in Dublin this evening. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Laisse Lorrane (front) with Isobella Parisi (right) and David Uzcategui (left) joined Brazilian fans watching the opening game of the World Cup against Croatia in Boteco Brazil at the Ormond on Ormond Quay in Dublin this evening. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

 

They may be 5,000 miles away from all the action, but excitement was reaching fever pitch for patrons in Dublin’s Boteco Brazil bar last night as the host nation took to the field for the World Cup opener.

Amid a carnival atmosphere, a large portion of Dublin’s vibrant Brazilian expatriate community crammed into the venue to catch a glimpse of the home side’s much anticipated first game against Croatia. With the eyes of the world focused on their native land, punters like Michael Machado from Sao Paulo were revelling in the pre-match hysteria.

“In Brazil everybody’s excited,” said Mr Machado. “It’s our favourite sport - everybody loves it - we grow up playing football. We watch it every Sunday and Wednesday. It’s huge.”

Ireland’s Brazilian community has grown considerably since the turn of the millennium, and it’s currently estimated that 13,000 now claim permanent residency here - nearly 10,000 more than in 2002.

Despite an early setback caused by defender Marcelo’s unfortunate redirection into the net, the amassed crowds retained a collective, unwavering faith that their team would pull through. Unfazed by Croatia’s opener, software trainer Denise DaCosta from Lucan was confident that her side would turn it around.

“It’s only halfway there, we’re just warming up. We’re going to win 2-1 for sure, and then we’re going to win the tournament, no doubt,” she said.

Among the heaving mass of expectant fans who occupied every vantage point imaginable in the quaint nightspot, it was telling that most present had reservations about the money spent on bringing the spectacle to Brazil, as previously evidenced when hundreds of members of Ireland’s Brazilian community protested on O’Connell Street this time last year.

“I don’t think the World Cup is worth it with all the wasted money – there’s too much corruption and they waste too much money on it,” said Ilson Antunes, while 26 year-old Natalia Braga took a more moderate approach. “It won’t help anything now though, the stadiums are done and the money was spent,” she said.

However, the fervent support of all present coupled with the wafting aroma of Brazilian cuisine meant that such ponderances were best left for another time.

In the end, the final whistle was met with fittingly raucous acclaim from the bumper attendance following a stellar comeback from their heroes - a performance which will give Dublin’s Brazilians hope that such gatherings will be a very regular occurrence over the course of a long World Cup summer.