Brazil may face fans' backlash

Brazil may face fans' backlash

Millions of Brazilians will be cheering like crazy during the World Cup, but not all of them for Brazil.

With kickoff two weeks away and tensions simmering over the costs of hosting the month-long football event, some are showing their anger by saying they will root against the national team, perhaps Brazil's most prominent symbol on the global stage.

"Never before has the World Cup incited these feelings of hatred among Brazilians," said Ugo Giorgetti, a prominent filmmaker and football commentator. "There are people who love football, who love Brazil, but are cheering against the team like they've never cheered before."|

The "Brazil haters" stand in sharp contrast to the typical caricature of Brazilian fans decked out in green and yellow face paint, chanting and screaming for their team to the rhythm of pounding samba drums.

"I'm cheering for Holland," said Marco Silva, a 33-year old consultant from the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. "If Brazil is champion, all the corruption around the tournament will be forgotten. The country won't wake up."

Most Brazilians will indeed rally behind the team as it seeks a record sixth World Cup victory, but the government is worried critics will take to the streets in the tens of thousands and hurt the country's image.

This week, angry protesters banged on the bus as players left Rio de Janeiro for training camp.

Detractors say the World Cup – with its overpriced stadiums, delayed or undelivered infrastructure projects and  organis­ational problems – has done more harm than good by taking funds away from social programs and more important investment projects.

For them, a swift end to Brazil's run would help the country refocus on more pressing needs and maybe even stoke political change.

"I and many people I know are rooting for Brazil to lose early, though not everyone is open about it," said Edson Alves, a 52-year old football fan.

"It's sad, but right now I'm thinking more about Brazil the country and not Brazil the football team."