The 2014 FIFA World Cup has been one for the record books for weeks now but don’t tell that to supporters of the losing squad. Local news reports out of Brazil are saying that Argentina World Cup fans ranging in the tens of thousands have remained in the country, indefinitely making it their new home.
Local media reports say tens of thousands of Argentine fans remain in the country. They appear to be overwhelmingly young and male: Most are in their 20s, and less than a third of them are women.
Brazil’s Federal Police did not respond to email and telephone requests seeking confirmation of how many Argentines are still here. But the prospect of a large number of foreigners selling handicrafts, juggling at intersections for handouts or relying on government social services for poor Brazilians has officials worried.
Although Brazil’s once-gangbuster economy has slowed in recent years, the situation is far better than that in crisis-wracked Argentina, which has a shortage of dollars and one of the world’s highest inflation rates.
Argentines don’t need a visa, or even a passport, to visit Brazil. A government ID card will do.
The stragglers dress mostly in raggedy shorts, T-shirts and flip-flops, bathing infrequently at public water fountains or outdoor showers at the beach. There is no need for warm clothes in Rio, where the temperatures currently hover around 28 degrees Celsius (low 80s Fahrenheit).
The Associated Press interviewed a 23-year-old struggle actor by the name of Lucas Bazan Pontoni who was quoted saying, “Brazil is amazing, and I want to stay. It could be weeks or months or longer. I’m going to see where life and the road take me.”
Take a look at some of the more passionate football fans turned semi-legal immigrants in the ensuing pages. They came, they saw and they’re not leaving.
Photos: Peter Maclaine/WENN.com