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Mac Margolis

Brazil's Unhappy? Tell That to Soccer Fans

Pessimistic opinion polls from Brazil tell only half the World Cup story.
At least his team looks pretty good.
At least his team looks pretty good.

A new Pew Research Center poll on Brazil has Latin America's biggest nation in a lather. With the World Cup just days away, 72 percent of the country reported "dissatisfaction" over the direction of the country. Two-thirds said the economy stinks, and 6 in 10 believed that the World Cup will be bad for Brazil. And that was just the beginning.

Knowing Americas pundits say Brazilians couldn't care a fig about the futebol. But my daughter, who is 9 and no pushover, is unimpressed. She put on her official green and yellow team jersey the other day and won't take it off. She's got company. The official colors are cropping up on verandas, fluttering from lampposts and getting lacquered onto fingernails. The national team's 4-0 romp over Panama in a pre-Cup friendly this week sopped up much ink and air time. Police had to separate fans in Sao Paulo as they brawled over the last tickets for Brazil's World Cup opener on June 12.