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Brazil dances to dazzling triumph

Brazil fans came out dancing in all the world's big capitals  

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil -- The sounds of car horns, plastic trumpets and fireworks filled the air on Sunday as Brazil danced to celebrate an unprecedented fifth World Cup title.

It was a scene repeated across the world including London and Rome as ecstatic Brazil fans turned city centre squares yellow and gold and hailed Ronaldo as the new Pele.

In Rio de Janeiro, thousands of beach-goers danced in their bathing suits and yellow Brazil jerseys to the music of samba drums before a giant-screen TV on Copacabana beach.

It mattered to no-one that the sun bleached the screen, making it hard to follow the game.

Tears smudged the green and yellow paint on the faces of teenagers, and strangers hugged each other amid cries of "Brazil!Brazil!" and "Five-time champion!"

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"I'm so happy, it was difficult for the first half, but now I'm going to party all week. I hope they declare tomorrow a holiday," 15-year-old Monica Maia told The Associated Press.

Nearby, her family jumped up and down waving Brazilian flags.

President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who watched the game in Brasilia, the nation's capital, issued a statement praising the team's success.

"The tears of Ronaldo, of Big Phil and the other players in the moment of the final whistle are the tears of emotion and joy of all the Brazilian people," the statement read. "You have shown, with talent, character and team spirit, that our soccer continues to be the best in the world."

Across the nation, from the Pampas to the Amazon rainforest, fans could barely contain their joy.

In Belem, at the mouth of the Amazon river, more than a 100,000 people converged on Ramos Plaza in the centre of town to celebrate.

In Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest city, hundreds of thousands of revellers clogged the main street, waving flags, parading and singing over the din of car horns.

In the northeastern city of Salvador da Bahia, tens of thousands clogged the colonial centre where the band Olodum played the national anthem in a samba rhythm.

Many churches opened late Sunday in honour of the game and many bars stayed open all night, continuing service as the afternoon approached.

"Ronaldo knocks over the Berlin Wall," read a celebratory headline on the Globo Web site, and much of the praise was reserved for the star who scored both of the game's goals after suffering through years of knee problems.

"Ronaldo deserved this chance to show he really is the best player in the world," 23-year-old Roberto Miranda da Silva told AP.

"He's the new Pele."



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