Brazil's loss leaves some Philly fans in tears

Posted: July 10, 2014

AT HALFTIME, with Germany leading Brazil 5-0, Tim Stegmann of Muenster, Germany, ran to a Philly Dunkin' Donuts to find Wi-Fi to get a hold of his family and talk about the good news.

"It's like a dream," said Stegmann, 22, who is traveling from New York to Miami on vacation.

He was referring to yesterday's 2014 World Cup soccer semifinal. The game in Brazil ended 7-1, keeping the home country from the finals. The Netherlands and Argentina meet today in the other semifinal. The final is Sunday.

The air had a hoppy tinge as shouts in Portuguese and German erupted from Fado Irish Pub on Locust Street near 15th. One woman clung to a Brazilian flag draped like a cloak around her back while her eyes were glued to the TV. Her yellow and green face paint was smeared by tears.

For Neil Sheth, 39, of Center City, it was a similar story. Sheth, who is part-Brazilian, was in Brazil two weeks ago to watch some of the tourney. Watching yesterday's game from about 5,000 miles away, he was texting a friend who was front and center.

"He said everyone in his entire section is in tears," Sheth said. "It's going to be bad for the country, because people can die because of this nonsense."

Sheth said that while he was in Brazil, he and his friends left the match against Croatia early because it "became too dangerous."

Protests and riots often happen outside the stadium because of tensions between Brazilians and their government, which has spent billions on the games while about 20 percent of the citizenry lives below the poverty line.

"This is the worst thing to happen since 1950, when Uruguay beat Brazil in the [finals]," Sheth said.

Meanwhile, over at Brauhaus Schmitz on South Street near 8th, the mood was festive.

The floorboards shook with every goal, men in lederhosen shouted "Deutschland!" and German flags were hoisted into the air.

Kathrin Shechtman, 32, of South Philadelphia, was grinning so broadly that her cheeks wrinkled through her red, yellow and black face paint. Shechtman, who hails from Germany, was with a 4-month-old baby whom she called "Germany's tiniest fan."

"Intense! Absolutely intense," added David Waterstram, 32, of Bella Vista, as he triumphantly shook the German flag draped across his shoulders.

Amid the excitement, even Germany's fans felt sorry for Brazil.

"I feel sad about my buddy Dante; he plays for Brazil now," said Daniel Witt, 29, of South Jersey. "He was so excited."

That player, Dante Bonfim Costa Santos, normally plays for Bayern Munich.

Witt, who moved here from Germany two years ago, finds his allegiances torn between his country and one of his favorite players.

"But I love Germany," he declared. "I love them to win."

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