Brazil Erupts Into Nationwide Party; Gloom Drapes Italy With AM-Newspage-World Cup
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) _ Millions of soccer fans from the Amazon to the Atlantic turned Brazil into a giant Carnival party Sunday, wildly celebrating their record fourth World Cup victory.
Gloom draped Italy early Monday following its loss to Brazil.
Brazilians of all ages, draped in the yellow, green and blue colors of their flag, started a victory party which will last at least until Tuesday when the Brazilian team is expected to arrive home for ticker tape parades.
At the World Cup finale in Pasadena, Calif., Brazil beat Italy 3-2 in a shoot-out of penalty kicks after an overtime game that left countless fans riveted to television sets around the world.
Brazil’s victory ended 24 years of World Cup frustration in a country where soccer is practically a state religion.
″The Brazilian people who suffered so many social injustices deserve this victory as a tribute to their happiness,″ Brazilian soccer icon Pele said.
Brazilians have had to swallow their pride since the country turned to a democracy in 1985.
They elected a president in 1989 they discovered to be a thief. Fernando Collor de Mello resigned after being impeached by parliament in 1992 for participating in a kickback scheme.
Brazil also is reeling under 45 percent monthly inflation. Other corruption scandals and rising urban violence have given them little to cheer about.
In Rome, as television screens in piazzas flickered out, a heavy silence weighed on the country.
″There are no words to describe how sad we are,″ said Luciano Salvati, 38, a waiter in Rome.
An estimated 30 million Italians watched their team lose in the nail- biting, teeth-grinding, knee-pounding game.