Party in full swing after Brazil's escape
After Brazil's dramatic victory over Chile, the party on the streets of Belo Horizonte was in full swing as fans took full advantage of the city's multitude of botecos (bars) to celebrate their team's dramatic triumph.
The unofficial motto of the city is "não tem mar, vamos pro bar" -- "we've got no beach, so we may as well go to the pub," and on Avenida Amazonas in the city's lively, if somewhat shabby, downtown area there was hardly a seat to be had in the street's plethora of drinking establishments.
Bank workers Andre Lima and Adriano Viera had travelled from Brazil's capital, Brasilia, to watch the game at a heaving Mineirao stadium.
"Chile played well. It was a really close game," said Andre.
"Brazil need to improve. If we play like that against Colombia ..." added Adriano, shaking his head.
Both fans admitted to suffering as the tension in the stadium reached unbearable levels. "I cried a couple of times," said Andre. "I've still got a headache now."
At another table, Chile fan Diego Alduante, a doctor from Santiago, was drowning his sorrows with a group of Brazilian fans.
"I'm so proud of Chile," he said. "I cried at the end. I didn't think my heart would stand it during the penalties."
As his new Brazilian friends poured him a beer, he took a philosophical approach. "Brazil are a good team. And Brazilians and Chileans are good friends. It's not like we lost to Argentina. Nobody likes the Argentinians!"
A little further south in the swankier district of Lourdes, the party was also in full swing. The streets were thronged with canary yellow shirts and music blared from every bar. A souped-up jeep rolled down the street, a giant Brazil flag fluttering in its wake.
At the Amarelim bar in the neighbouring bairro of Cidade Jardim, Fabiola, Ronaldo, Yash and Carolina were reveling in Brazil's victory.
"My heart was in my mouth the whole time," laughed Fabiola, a lawyer.
"I never imagined it would be so difficult," Yash said. "The atmosphere in the bar was desperate. We were on our knees at times."
The celebrations in Belo Horizonte seemed set to continue long into the night. And if things go according to plan, Brazil will be back in the city for the semifinal. Until then, the celebratory beer, if not champagne, will continue to flow in Brazil's city of bars.
James Young writes about Brazil and its football. His collection of short stories and blog writings, "A Beer Before Lunch," is available on Amazon.