Football / World Cup USA '94: Victory sparks national party

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The Independent Online
MILLIONS of football fans from the Amazon to the Atlantic turned Brazil into a giant Carnival party last night after Brazil had won the World Cup.

People of all ages, draped in the yellow, green and blue colours of the Brazilian flag, started a victory party which will last at least until tomorrow, when the Brazilian team arrives home for ticker tape parades.

'The World Cup victory is the perfect antidote to years of recession, hyper-inflation, corruption and urban violence,' one television commentator said.

Fans with painted faces drank beer, sang, danced and paraded along Rio's famous Copacabana beach. Others partied on Sao Paulo's Paulista Avenue, the financial district of Brazil's largest and richest city.

It was a stark contrast to public mourning following the death earlier this year of Ayrton Senna, Brazil's three- time Formula One motor racing champion. The Brazilian team dedicated this year's World Cup effort to Senna.

Brazil's victory ended 24 years of frustration in a country where football is practically a state religion.

Meanwhile in Rome technical problems darkened a huge screen in a piazza where 30,000 fans had come to watch the final.

Many people yelled protests and some threw glass bottles at the blank screen in the capital's Piazza del Popolo. Police with riot gear arrived and took some members of the crowd away in vans.

The police suggested that people go to the Olympic Stadium, a 20-minute bus ride away, where the game was also to be broadcast on large screens. Officials blamed a burned-out generator for the problem.