Disgruntled fans break into Brazil pre-World Cup training

TERESOPOLIS, Brazil — Disgruntled fans broke into a Brazil training session for the World Cup on Friday and some booed the national team over a lack of contact with local supporters. A few dozen even mocked chanted “It was 7-1! It was 7-1!” in a reference to the team’s humiliation against Germany four years ago.

The open training in Teresopolis was the only chance local fans had to be with Brazil players since the beginning of preparations Monday. Brazil gave up on its traditional pre-World Cup friendly on home soil before the tournament and will only play again June 3 in Liverpool against Croatia.

In the first and only meeting with players before they travel to the tournament in Russia, about 200 people were initially allowed in the Granja Comary training ground, but many others broke into the venue after being stopped by police for hours at the gates. No one was injured, but the frustration was evident.

“I come here to see Brazil since 1998 and it was never this distant,” teacher Hilario Santos said. “Even the street on the other side of the Granja, where players usually stopped to give autographs, has been closed. That only adds to the disconnect between team and fans.”

Since it hosted the World Cup four years ago, Brazil has become less interested in attention, especially after the crushing against the Germans in the semifinal in Belo Horizonte. Coach Tite repeated the team would need more privacy to prepare for the tournament in Russia.

In the end of Friday’s training Brazil players and Tite gave autographs to those that managed to enter, easing the pressure from fans two days before the team flies to London to set camp from Monday to June 8.

But even those fans that entered had their complaints.

“I am very happy because Neymar signed my shirt, but I wanted to see him play at the Maracana, too,” 11-year-old Paula Horacio said. “He already spends a lot of time in Europe, it would be nice to have him around more.”

Left-back Filipe Luis said he only heard positive messages from fans.

“We felt their love today, everyone here feels more comfortable when we see fans giving their support,” Luis said.

Neymar, who is recovering from a right-foot surgery, was the most sought player by fans and spent about 15 minutes giving them autographs.

Tite, a central part of Brazil’s change from possible flop to World Cup favourites, also had supporters on his side wishing him well on his birthday.

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