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Monday, 17 June, 2002, 16:12 GMT 17:12 UK
London's samba crew warm up for England
Flying the flag for Brazil in England

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Beckhamania may be gripping the Japanese, but you do not expect to see that famous skunk-tail mohican on a man in the green and gold of Brazil.

"It is not a Beckham haircut - his is longer, it's nothing like his," he protested as Brazil prepared to play Belgium in a match which would decide who would meet the Manchester United star's England in Friday's World Cup quarter final.

The Rodizio Rico Brazilian bar in Notting Hill, west London, was a little corner of Rio for the event - wall-to-wall yellow shirts, samba music on the PA, even the weather seemed to have turned Brazilian for the day.

Aren't you supposed to be on the pitch?
While it might take a trained stylist to explain the difference between their haircuts, there was no sign of divided loyalty for the mohican Brazilian when the TV camera panned onto his doppelganger in the Kobe stadium crowd.

Jeers, laughter and shouts of "pretty boy" greeted the sight of Posh Spice's husband, hands clasped as if praying - perhaps that Belgium might sneak a win.

The mood before the game was confident: "I think it will be easy. I'm not worried at all," said 18-year-old Junior Almeiea.

His optimism was echoed by Iauca Dacunha, also 18, from Salvidor, in south east Brazil.

Open Quote
If you could chose a team who has won the World Cup four times or one that has won it once, who would you pick?
Close Quote
Brazil fan Luana Rosa
"I am very confident," he said, predicting a 4-1 win. The prospect of facing England, should his faith prove justified, brings a note of greater caution, but no less confidence.

"The last time we played them, it was 1-1 and everyone here said England were unlucky, so I want us to play them again and set the record straight.

"Brazil will win, but it will be a very difficult game."

The party will last until at least Friday
With the game 40 minutes old the confidence ebbed away.

The Belgians "score" a goal, the bar falls silent.

But it is disallowed for an apparent push - a controversial decision which leaves even these fanatical fans looking a little embarrassed.

As the second half progresses, and Belgium begin to take control, the atmosphere becomes more funeral than carnival.

But then comes the moment when it all explodes into life.

Rivaldo turns and shoots on the edge of the area. Goooooal!

"Brazil, Brazil, Brazil!" - the place is jumping, and the fists banging a rhythm on the tables that, while not quite samba, still has everyone on their feet dancing.

Bring on England

A late second goal by golden boy Ronaldo - greeted with even more joy than the first - and Brazil are through.

Now for England.

Junior llmeiea is still confident: "Brazil have a good chance, but it will be very close, whoever wins it will win the World Cup and I think it will be Brazil, 3-2."

Luana Rosa, even more than the other Brazilians in the bar who have made England their home, has reason to look forward to the match.

Shirt swapping

Her father is Brazilian, but her mother English - however there is no question where her heart lies.

"Oh it's Brazil, it is always Brazil - not even slightly England.

"They play much more exciting football, and anyway, if you could chose a team who has won the World Cup four times or one that has won it once, who would you pick?"

England will be hoping it is not five-one by the end of next week.


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