Brazil delivers World Cup victory as Blast players root for their home country

Viewing party for Brazil World Cup win.

A little before 10 a.m. on Friday, everything was good at the Dantas household in Cockeysville.

It wasn’t quite the same kind of noisy good Blast star Vini Dantas and his fellow teammates from Brazil – William Vanzela and Daniel Peruzzi – experience back home when the national team brings home a World Cup win, but special nonetheless.


The viewing party for the Brazil-Costa Rica game, hosted by Dantas, had all the necessities: Family, friends, food and plenty of banter.

When Philippe Coutinho scored in stoppage time and Neymar added a second goal minutes later – giving Brazil a -0 win – the morning was complete in Cockeysville. Brazil is 1-0-1 with four points atop first place in Group E with one game left in pool play.

“In Brazil, a day like today, you’re either with your family watching at home with like 10 or more people or you’re out with your friends with 30-some people watching at a bar or somewhere,” said Dantas, one of nine Brazilian players on the Blast. “To have the boys around and to be able to have a little family away from family is really good.”

With the game’s 8 a.m. start, the day began with a traditional Brazilian breakfast.

Dantas’ wife, Alicia, and Vanzela’s younger sister, Milena, visiting from Brazil for the summer, also were glued to the TV as Costa Rica’s packed-in defense proved stubborn.

Until then, there was plenty of talk in Portuguese, Vanzela confessing most of which were curse words.

Alicia Dantes asked if anybody needed anything early in the second half and Vanzela was quick to reply: “Yes, a goal for Brazil.”

Alicia came back: “I can’t help there, but we have doughnuts.”

With the game still scoreless in the 80th minute and Vanzela’s puppy, Bella, restless at the front door, Milena came to the rescue so William could keep his eyes on the game.

Brazil opened the tournament with a 1-1 draw against Switzerland on Sunday. On Friday, the Brazilians were clearly better, pressing the action throughout while Costa Rica was content to defend.

A penalty kick was awarded for Brazil late in the second half — bringing relief to the Cockeysville contingent — and then instant replay called it back: “The second time this happened to Brazil this World Cup!” Vanzela was quick to point out.

Throughout the game, Dantas was getting texts from back home. A cousin was growing more and more worried as the game stayed scoreless. An aunt, who loyally watched the Blast pull out close games this past season, provided reassuring texts: “She wrote: ‘I’m still OK because I’ve seen enough Blast games to be Ok,’ ” Dantas said

When Brazil finally scored, she wrote: “Just like the Blast!”

Dantas, Vanzela and Peruzzi were glad to be able to watch and celebrate together.


“Having other Brazilian guys around me to share the lives we have is special,” said Vanzela, who predicted Brazil’s 2-0 win. “We live for soccer, so we share the moments and we all know here what the feeling is back in Brazil. So to be able to celebrate with them, suffer with them and comment about the game with them – just screaming at the TV with my friends around, it feels like home.”

And they want all the Blast fans to know they are welcome to join the party, one they hope adds to the country’s record five World Cup crowns.

“Our fans are very loyal to us and they know half our team is from Brazil, so why not cheer for Brazil?” Vanzela said.

Dantas added: “It’s a given. If you watch the Baltimore Blast there’s a bunch of Brazilians and we’re next up in your heart, so it has to be.”