Partying fans gave Brazil players a hero’s welcome early on Sunday as they arrived home from a convincing victory over Argentina in World Cup qualifying.
Brazil couldn’t have asked for more from its trip to Rosario on Saturday - a 3—1 win over the archrival and a spot in net year’s World Cup. Argentina had lost only once before at home in 50 World Cup qualifying matches - a 5-0 defeat to Colombia in 1993.
Nearly 1,000 fans made it to Salvador international airport at around 6 a.m. in the morning local time to greet the Brazil team which net faces Chile in the north-eastern city on Wednesday.
For that match, Brazil coach Dunga will be without the services of Kaka, Luis Fabiano, Ramires and Lucio - all suspended after picking up yellow cards. In addition, Robinho and Elano are nursing minor injuries and are listed as doubtful.
“We are moved to see this kind of party for us here,” said Kaka, who made his 70th international appearance against Argentina. “I’m sure that at the stadium against Chile it’s going to be just as nice.”
Many fans chanted, waved flags and held signs celebrating Brazil’s victory and taunting the Argentines, who now are in serious danger of not making it to the 2010 World Cup.
The front pages of nearly all Brazilian newspapers made references to Brazil’s victory, it’s first in Argentina for 14 years.
“Samba in Rosario,” read the Lance sports daily’s headline.
Brazil’s 3-1 victory, courtesy of two goals from striker Luis Fabiano and one by defender Luisao, extended Brazil’s winning streak to 10 matches and it is unbeaten in 18.
Dunga criticised those who doubted him when he was named Brazil’s coach following Brazil’s elimination in the quarterfinals of the 2006 World Cup in Germany, and said he is glad to have proved them wrong.
“Three years ago our work was very disputed,” Dunga said. “But the titles we won and yesterday’s result showed that we are on the right track.”
He said he doesn’t think Brazil is ready for the World Cup yet, but feels the team knows what it takes to win.
“They know how they have to work and how they have to act in the national team,” Dunga said. “You need to have pride, pleasure and satisfaction to wear this jersey.”