Qatar World Cup 2022: Brazil fans in Kerala left heartbroken, Argentina lovers on cloud nine
Qatar World Cup 2022: Brazil was knocked out in the pre-quarters by Croatia, leaving fans in Kerala heartbroken, while Argentine surprised the Netherlands to move into the quarterfinal, sending its fans on cloud nine.
Some of them continued to stare at the big TV screen, displayed on a ground in Malappuram/Kozhikode, in disbelief while others wiped off the tears rolling down their cheeks. Many even did not mind crying aloud in public as the heartbroken fans of Brazil could not bear the reality that their favourite team was going out of the football World Cup without even reaching the semi-finals on Friday night. It was a night of shock and dismay for the hardcore admirers of Brazil in Kerala, where South American soccer teams have a huge fan following. Faizal, a Brazil fan almost on the verge of tears, said he and his friends never expected such a rude jolt.
"We are still in a state of shock. How could it be true? We thoroughly believed that Brazil would win the title this time. It is unbelievable and unbearable for us," he said. Another Brazil fan, wearing the football team's iconic yellow and green jersey, said he had no words to describe the loss.
When TV channels sought the reaction of another young man, he was not even ready to look up to the camera but just sat down in despair on the chair with his head down. Croatia knocked Brazil out of the World Cup on Friday, beating the five-time world champions 4-2 in a penalty shootout to reach the semi-finals for the second straight time.
But another section of football fans was ecstatic last night. Fans of Argentina rejoiced as their team reached the semi-finals of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar with a penalty shootout win over the Netherlands. Many of them broke into cheers and chanted slogans praising Argentine superstar Lionel Messi, seeing their team enter the semi-finals in a thriller match where the star footballer was in top form by scoring a goal and also setting up another.
"Vamos Argentina... Vamos Messi...," chanted a group of fans who took to the streets to celebrate the victory in the northern Kasaragod district. 'Vamos' is a Spanish term that means 'let's go' or 'come on'. Some of them even waved the flags of Argentina standing atop their cars. An Argentinian fan, who painted his face with blue and white, said he was happier and excited as Brazil lost the other match.
"We will surely win the World Cup this time... Messi will lift the cup," he said aloud. Even state politicians could not hide their excitement and dismay over their favourite team's performance last night. Ruling CPI(M) veteran and former minister MM Mani, a hardcore Argentina fan, attempted to troll Brazilian fans through Facebook posts.
"Do not worry, Brazil... We will capture Croatia... But when will we get you in our hands?" he asked sarcastically. General Education Minister V Sivankutty, a staunch supporter of Brazil, excitedly posted a photo of him watching the match on his Facebook handle last night. But, when his favourite team lost the game, he just posted a one-line post: "Congratulations, Croatia".
Kerala, known for its love for football, had witnessed a "cutout war" between fans even before the beginning of the first-ever World Cup to be held in winter. Vast cutouts of Messi, Neymar Jr and Cristiano Ronaldo, erected alongside a scenic river flowing through the northern Kozhikode district, grabbed worldwide attention.
(With inputs from PTI)