Dutch, Brazilian 'Football Diplomacy' in India

New Delhi, Jul 3 (IANS): Nearly 100 Brazilian and Dutch diplomats and expatriates came together at a restaurant in the capital Friday and celebrated the magic of the FIFA World Cup.

The chosen Baci restaurant in Delhi's Sundar Nagar area seemed rather too small to accommodate a wildly cheering, clapping, whistling and occasionally swearing football crowd.

But as the national anthems of both the countries played out to signal the start of the match, patriotism filled the air and supporters of both the teams rose in utmost respect and sang along.

Clinks of beer bottles and aroma of pizza had the FIFA mood going on in full swing.

Special "football world cup offer" on the menu with four beer bottles and one large pizza charged at Rs 840 saw huge sales as the match progressed.

The Brazilian diplomats with their families and supporters dressed in yellow and blue jerseys gathered in the restaurant's ground floor, while the first floor of the restaurant had the orange people.

Cheering with great enthusiasm, the Dutch showed up in all orange including footwear. It was only normal to fear that the floor could come crashing down as the Dutch jumped up and down and clapped with great intensity as their victory neared.

The full-house restaurant screened the match live on big television screens on both the floors of the restaurant.

It was an "unbelievable" victory for the Dutch. Alex Oosterwijk, the political section head at the Netherlands embassy was thrilled to bits.

"I feel like I played the match myself... I am all sweaty. This is an unbelievable feeling. And as per our understanding earlier on... when Brazil scored first, we were pessimistic. But wow! We did it," Oosterwijk said.

"It was wonderful to have the Brazilians watch with us. It was a fun match. Brazil is a great team. We respect them," he added.

While celebrations continued for the Dutch, the Brazilians made an early exit, congratulating the people.

Brazilian Embassy Press Officer Flavio Augusto, while congratulating the Dutch diplomats and fans, said: "They played well. They have deserved a star on their jersey since 1974."

"I know Brazil is better than this, but today is not the day. But Brazil surely played well," Favacho Garcia, a Brazilian diplomat's son sighed.

The event, which brought together people from both the countries, was organised by Knowledge Must - a Germany-based organisation providing inter-cultural solutions.

"We intended to connect with the international world. This is a celebration of culture. Today's was an exciting match. We screen all the FIFA matches here," Peter Braun, managing director of Knowledge Must, said.

The Netherlands embassy will screen their next match at the embassy premises with an invitation to friends and supporters but "strictly in orange outfits only".


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