For Brazil fans, the ‘sadness is too much’ after World Cup exit

Croatia stunned top-ranked Brazil and their legions of fans after defeating the Brazilians 4-2 on penalties in Qatar.

Sad end to the World Cup for Neymar who scored in the quarter-final [Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera]

Doha, Qatar – Ask any Brazilian and they will tell you that football is not just a sport but a religion of its own in the South American nation.

It would be an understatement to say Brazil’s stunning defeat to Croatia on Friday at the Qatar World Cup was simply a disappointment that fans of Selecao Canarinho will get over in a few days.

“The sadness is too much. We had the best team in the world,” Brazil supporter Paolo Souza told Al Jazeera after the match at Education City Stadium.

“We were very confident that we could win it this year but it was not meant to be. The defeat is so painful,” said the 37-year-old Brazilian.

Brazil fans during the Croatia match
Brazil fans said the quarter-final loss was a “painful” one that will take a long time to recover from [Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera]

The five-time World Cup champions were on course to defeat the Balkan nation after Neymar scored in the first half of extra time, the game’s first goal.

But, Croatia – losing finalists at the 2018 World Cup – scored an equaliser in the closing minutes of extra time, eventually emerging victorious on penalties.

Brazilian supporters, who made up the vast majority of fans at the stadium, arrived to the game with warmth, fervour and infectious music. But after the nail-biting game ended., there was no samba, no Surdao drum solos or tambourine performances but just groups of Canarinho fans heading for the exists as sadness lingered in the air.

Supporters at fan zones in Doha during the FIFA World Cup, December 9 2022.
The look on their faces tells it all as Brazil supporters watch the quarter-final between Brazil and Croatia at a FIFA fan zone in Doha, Qatar, on December 9, 2022 [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

Brasilia resident Roger Oliviera said that had the Brazil team progressed, he and his partner would have done everything to try to stay for the semi-final.

“I am heartbroken,” 49-year-old Oliveira said, shaking his head. “This year was supposed to be our trophy. I could just feel it. I thought Neymar had won it for us but that’s football. We love our team but I’m glad I have four years to recover from this.”

The South American nation has not beaten a European team in the knockout stages of the World Cup since 2002, which was the last time they won the World Cup.

‘Only happiness’

Sao Paolo resident Carolina Disa, who was in tears after the match, said her nine-year-old daughter called on the phone crying from Brazil after the defeat.

“We never thought we would lose. I am so sad,” Disa, a mother of three, said, adding that football is “very important” for Brazilians and for some, it is the only thing they “look forward” to in their lives.

Brazilian players were left in tears after losing on 4-2 on penalties
Brazil will have to wait another four years before they get another chance to win their sixth World Cup [Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera]

“Back home we have a lot of poor people. The only happiness they have is Brazilian football. We are very proud of our national teams,” she added.

Disa’s husband, Diego, said the couple would stay in Qatar until the end of the tournament on December 19. They have tickets to watch the semi-final and final.

“Right now we are all cheering for every team but Argentina,” he said. “For us, Portugal is Brazil; Morocco is Brazil.”

Source: Al Jazeera