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Brazil Celebrates 5th World Cup Title

June 30, 2002

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RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) _ The sounds of car horns, plastic trumpets and fireworks filled the air Sunday as Brazil celebrated an unprecedented fifth World Cup title.

Samba drums set thousands of beach goers dancing in their bathing suits and yellow Brazil jerseys before a giant-screen TV set up on Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana beach.

It hardly matter that the sun bleached the screen, making it hard to follow the game.

Tears streaked the faces of teen-agers who painted their faces in Brazil’s national colors of green and yellow, and strangers hugged each other amid cries of ``Brazil! Brazil!″ and ``Five-time champion!″

``I’m so happy, it was difficult for the first half, but now I’m going to party all week. I hope they declare tomorrow a holiday,″ said 15-year-old Monica Maia, while her family was busy jumping up and down waving Brazilian flags.

Many churches opened late Sunday in honor of the game and many bars stayed open all night, continuing service as the afternoon approached.

``My daughter is dating a German and even he was rooting for Brazil,″ said Maria Valeria Barbosa Barcelos as she bounced her 4-year-old granddaughter, wearing a No. 9 Ronaldo shirt, up and down in her arms.

After a difficult qualifying run, Brazilians had been slow to get in the World Cup spirit, but now they were making up for lost time.

The victory silenced even the staunchest of critics who had complained about Brazil’s game and strategy.

``Brazil won because of its individual talent, not because it has a cohesive team,″ 51-year-old lawyer Jorge Ganem said. ``But remember, this is a young team, they still have two or three more Cups in them.″

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