Ever-popular Brazilians getting ready for a party

Petronio Yepes has grown used to many strangers wanting to be his friend during the competition.

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Petronio Yepes is expecting to be a little more popular during this World Cup. Mr Yepes, 54, a Brazilian from Maceio living in Dubai and working with Schlumberger, an oil and gas company, has not watched two consecutive World Cups from the same country in 28 years, but says many strangers want to be his friend during the competition. It is something he has grown used to over the years as the Brazilian national team, a fixture in the knock-out stages of the tournament, have become a "second team" for many.

"Oh, yes, this is always like that," says Mr Yepes, who has lived in the UAE for 18 months. "Brazil is a country which is very friendly and all around the world everyone loves Brazil, not only because of the football but because of how friendly the people are. "Even if you are a good football country, let's say like Mexico, as soon as they are out of the tournament, they start going for Brazil." Mr Yepes expects he'll be getting that kind of support again this year as the Brazilians, ranked No 1 in the world by Fifa, the sport's governing body, are among the favourites to lift the World Cup trophy in South Africa.

Brazil have appeared in every World Cup tournament and won the competition a record five times, most recently in 2002. Alex Cale, 31, the manager of the Brazilian steakhouse Chamas at the Intercontinental Hotel in Abu Dhabi, is also hoping the Brazilians' success will translate into more customers at his restaurant and bar in the coming month. Mr Cale, from Sao Paolo, is especially expecting members of the Brazilian community, such as Claudio Pereira, a pilot with Etihad Airways, to make Chamas their gathering point. "Normally, Brazilians, they make their own space when they arrive anywhere," he says. "Normally when we go for the game, we carry our shirts, our flags and everything and we make our own space.