Kolkata wears colourless look after Brazil's exit

Wednesday 11th July 2018 07:32 EDT

Brazil's shock 1-2 defeat to Belgium has all but ended Kolkata's FIFA World Cup euphoria with Argentina also bowing out of the football competition earlier. Streets of football-mad Kolkata wore a despondent look as clutter of Brazil and Argentina flags looked colourless in the torrential downpour that lashed the eastern metropolis.

Much like the end of the Durga Puja festival, the buzz in tea stalls, local sweet shops and fast food joints went missing. Brazil revellers, who until Friday's reversal were happy at the fact that Argentina had lost to France in the round of 16, disappeared from the streets while jersey sellers at Maidan market were counting their losses.

"Like every four years, we had ordered Brazil and Argentina jerseys the most. Yes, there was demand for Portugal as well with Ronaldo jerseys being sold a lot. But since their exit and Germany's too, Brazil shirts were in huge demand after their win over Mexico (in the pre-quarters). With Brazil gone, we fear a downturn in jersey sales," a Maidan market shopkeeper said.

Argentina supporters rubbed salt in Brazil counterparts' wounds by bursting crackers the moment referee Mazic Milorad of Serbia blew the final whistle. Social media groups were awash with taunts between supporters of both parties.

"We are not exactly happy but there is a sense of satisfaction as they were celebrating Argentina's exit like Brazil have won the World Cup. Belgium showed them their place," said Sandip Misra, an Argentina supporter. "You can say that the World Cup for Bengalis is over," current India full-back Pritam Kotal said.

"For Bengalis, I have grown up watching people support either Brazil or Argentina in my neighbourhood. So the charm will be missing now," added Kotal, a Brazilian supporter. An own goal from Fernandinho and a beauty of a strike from Kevin De Bruyne in the first half helped Belgium subdue Neymar's Brazil for whom Raphael Augusto scored in the second period.

This is the first time that neither Brazil, Germany or Argentina have reached the semi-finals of the World Cup.

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