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Dateline/BRAZIL

Party Atmosphere Seems to Be Missing

June 02, 2002

World Cup time usually bristles with all the energy of an off-season carnival. Entire streets are covered with garish murals and streets swathed in colorful ribbons.

But this year, the samba drums are mostly silent and many Brazilians are singing the blues.

"It just doesn't feel the same this year. I just hope we're not a total disaster," said 17-year-old student Wesley da Silva.

Ronaldo Helal, a sociology professor, says Brazilians suffer from heightened expectations.

"There's this feeling we don't just have to win, we have to win Brazilian-style, playing art soccer," Helal said.

Compiled by Jim Barrero

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