Sao Paulo: Portugal`s early ouster from the World Cup has not just disappointed their fans back home but Brazillians have also shed a few tears for them as long-held cultural, historical and linguistic ties had made Cristiano Ronaldo`s team the second favourite for them.
According to the locals here, Brazil inherited many things from Portugal that shaped and characterised the Brazilian culture. Brazil had been colonised by the Portuguese centuries ago. The connection is reflected in the language they speak, the history and culture they share, and the names of a couple of football clubs that sound similar.
"We support Portugal when Brazil is not playing. We have a connect and as long as they don`t play Brazil we back them. But unfortunately, they are now out of the tournament and we can`t do anything but feel sorry for them," says John, a tourist guide here.
He adds, "Obviously when Brazil plays them, we support out team, let me make it very, very clear." Before their crucial World Cup match against the United States of America, Portugal found a lot of support from the Brazilians, but that was not enough for them to qualify for the knockout stages of the sporting extravaganza.
"The disastrous 4-0 defeat to Germany left their campaign in tatters and it was always going to be difficult for them from then on. Because Ghana and USA are two fighting units as they have showed in the World Cup," says Pablo, a resident of Sao Paulo.
A TV reporter in a well-known channel here had been quoted as saying: "Portugal is the second team of every Brazilian.If, God forbid, Brazil was out of the tournament, all Brazilians would support Portugal."
In fact, for Portugal`s round-robin games in the ongoing tournament, a lot of young Brazilians were seen sporting Cristiano Ronaldo`s number seven shirt, which clearly reflected their allegiances towards the Iberian nation. There was no dearth of Ronaldo supporters outside the stadiums as well, with hordes of youngsters cheering him wearing his now-famous jersey.
The welcome they received in Brazil naturally left the Portuguese highly impressed.
"We have got nothing but fantastic support since we have been here. With all the Brazilian hospitality, it has felt like home," Ronaldo had said after a training session at the team base. But unfortunately, from Portugal and the legion of Ronaldo fans` point of view, the team has failed to achieve its goal despite the support it got.