A Brazilian family are hoping for a date with destiny in Doha, with tickets to the World Cup final already in the bag — as long as their home heroes make it to the title-decider.
Dubai residents Eduardo Contreiras, his wife Marcia and children Marina, 17, and Lucca, 13, have even more reason to cheer on the Samba boys as they embark on their quest for a record-extending sixth triumph.
They have precious seats for the showpiece occasion on December 18, provided on the condition that their national side makes it through.
The family will definitely be present to see their favourites in action against Cameroon at the Lusail stadium on December 2 and hope to be back a little more than two weeks later.
A previous World Cup clash between the two sides occurred during the 2014 tournament, with Brazil romping to a 4-1 win thanks to two goals from Neymar and one each from Fred and Fernandinho.
Enduring love for the beautiful game
“Like most Brazilians, we are all passionate football fans, even though my kids did not grow up in Brazil,” said Mr Contreiras.
“The World Cup reminds me of childhood, family and of good times. The country would come to a standstill while matches were on and we would not go to work or school.
“Families would get together so the World Cup is magical, a moment in time to stop and enjoy football together.
“Having the chance to go together as a family is a dream.
“As we are in Dubai and Qatar is just a short flight away, it makes it so much easier for us — we are just happy to be in the region to share a cool experience.”
The family will be travelling on one of the flydubai shuttle flights and stopping off at a friend’s home in Qatar to rest up after the matches before heading back to Dubai.
Although Mr Contreiras attended the Germany World Cup in 2006, watching Brazil beat Japan, this will be his first tournament with his family.
So far, he has spent Dh25,000 on tickets and travel.
“I heard some great stories from our family members who went to the Brazil World Cup and said it was a great experience, they made new friends and had a good time,” said Mr Contreiras.
“I feel the best experience of a World Cup is in Europe, with such as great history of the game and so many nations being close by.
“Latin America is also a great host because of the tradition and passion for the sport.
“But it is important to spread that around to other regions, and the Middle East has been growing its interest in football.”
The unifying power of sport
Mr Contreiras is looking forward to catching up with friends travelling from around the globe for the sporting spectacle.
“I have friends here going to the same games, or are travelling in from the US and Brazil,” he said.
“We will all meet up and it is great so many people are coming through Dubai, so we can watch games together.
“Sport is one of the most important things in our global culture, it brings us together. We may have different teams, but we all have the same goals.
“I was lucky to get tickets through the lottery system so paid face value and got a conditional ticket for the final if Brazil gets there.
“I can only imagine what that will be like.”