Latin America & Caribbean

World Cup 2014: The Brazilians who avoid football

They missed Brazilian star Neymar crying during the national anthem before Brazil's second group game against Mexico. Nor did they follow the controversial penalty decision on which Brazil's opening World Cup game turned.

They are not on the streets among anti-World Cup protesters either - although some support them.

They are the Brazilians who are not interested in watching the World Cup. Instead of spending 90 minutes in front of a TV or at one of the 12 World Cup stadiums, they prefer to bake cakes, surf, walk the dog, watch their favourite classic films - or even sleep.

Here, we speak to five Brazilians who contradict the old cliche that everyone in their country loves football.

Victor Pavan, student, 18, Ribeirao Preto, Sao Paulo State

"It is not a political thing. I just don't like football at all. When I was younger, I tried to play it. But I was never any good at it. Now I just tell people I don't like it and that is it.

It is not easy being Brazilian when you don't like football. Just because I am a man, everyone thinks I am supposed to enjoy football. I don't care. I don't even support any of the local teams.

My girlfriend - who supports [Sao Paulo club] Corinthians - loves football.

She is watching all the World Cup games at her house, while I prefer to stay at home studying or watching films. During the last Brazilian match [Tuesday's 0-0 draw with Mexico] I decided to have a Martin Scorsese and Robert DeNiro movie marathon. I started with Casino and then watched Raging Bull.

During Brazil's next match [against Cameroon], I will do the same, but this time I will watch Cape Fear, followed by Analyze This, just to relax.

When Brazil are playing, I don't even check my Facebook account, as every single person is talking about the game.

I actually find all this excitement about the World Cup being staged here kind of ridiculous. All this fanaticism about football - it actually upsets me when people keep talking about footballers for hours.

But I try not to say anything or judge them because I actually do the same when I am talking about a film director or an actor that I like."

Lucas Kanyo, architect, 39, lives in Sao Paulo

"I haven't watched a single match during this World Cup and I am not going to watch any.

On Monday, when Brazil play again, I am going to work, as I normally do.

When the Brazilian team played against Mexico on Tuesday, I felt a bit sick, so I decided to sleep. I slept through the whole match.

It surprised me when I woke up that there were no fireworks. I found out later that it was because the score was 0-0. But for me it was perfect, since I had a great nap, with all that silence.

But it is not easy to avoid the World Cup in Brazil. If I get into a cab, the driver is always listening to a match on the radio - any match, even if Brazil is not playing. When I go to a cafe or a restaurant, you can bet that there will be a TV showing a World Cup match.

I kind of like all the action and craziness that happens on the streets before the matches. Even the traffic does not bother me since I don't have a car - I go everywhere on my bike.

And, to be honest, I used to like the World Cup until the 1998 final [which Brazil lost 3-0 to France]. After that I lost interest.

I began to think of all the money involved, all the [alleged] corruption. And now, I support the protests in Brazil against Fifa and this World Cup."

Roberta Milazzo, manager, 42, Rio de Janeiro

"When Brazil play, I go to the beach to surf.

I went surfing during the two group matches involving Brazil, as I did during the last World Cup.

The beach is almost empty. There is almost nobody in the sea - it's great.

In Brazil, so much attention is paid to football, while other sports are hardly supported at all. That really upsets me.

I did feel a bit annoyed about all this World Cup fever. I think it is over the top.

Brazil needs to improve a lot of things - football is definitely not one of them."

Elisa Nazarian, writer, 65, Sao Paulo State

"I like to see the players entering the pitch, holding hands with the mascots, singing the national anthems, even crying sometimes.

I enjoy this emotional side of the World Cup. But as soon as the match begins, I turn off the TV. I don't like football at all.

I remember listening to the 1958 World Cup on the radio. I even watched a few of them after that. But the 1970 World Cup was my last. After that, I lost interest. The players nowadays don't have that charisma anymore. It is all about the money.

I walked my dog during Brazil's first two matches in this World Cup. It is a great time to do it because the dogs usually get stressed with all the noise and the fireworks that we have here during the World Cup.

The last game was great. The 0-0 draw meant no fireworks, so the dogs were very calm.

During the 1998 World Cup, I remember taking advantage of the city being completely empty.

I would take my bike out and cycle during the games. I managed to keep up with what was happening, though, hearing cheers and boos coming from people's houses along the way.

It was such an amazing experience that I even wrote a short story about it."

Lissa Galvao, Sao Jose dos Campos , Sao Paulo State

"While my family was watching the last Brazil match, I managed to bake a cake and a pie. It was great to have the time to do it.

I had to explain my seven-year-old son why I was not supporting Brazil's national team.

First of all, there is a political reason. I am sure that if Brazil wins the World Cup the ruling PT Party is going to try to take advantage of it, politically, in an election year.

Also it really disturbs me to see this gap between Brazilian football and other sports here. There are so many talented athletes here that don't get any kind of support.

Another reason for not watching the World Cup is that it annoys me that many Brazilians wear green and yellow only during football matches.

What about all the other instances where this patriotism is needed?"

Additional reporting by Stephen Fottrell.

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