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World Cup: A Brazilian with his hands on the trophies

Rio artist Jarbas Meneghini has got his hands on the World Cup in a way that his country could only dream of after their humiliation on the pitch.

RIO DE JANEIRO: Rio artist Jarbas Meneghini has got his hands on the World Cup in a way that his country could only dream of after their humiliation on the pitch.

The 46-year-old mechanic has developed a lucrative sideline making and selling replicas of World Cup trophies.

Brazil's 7-1 drubbing by Germany ruined the host country's World Cup. But Meneghini is still enamoured by the tournament.

"Unlike Brazil, I've had a good World Cup --- I think I must have sold about 1,000. I'll have another 30-40 in the car boot ready for fans going to the final," he said. The trophies sell for between $15 and $30.

"You're nostalgic for the 1970 Brazil team? Well why not buy the Jules Rimet version instead -- I've got that one too," laughed Meneghini, reveling in a pastime which has seen him rub shoulders with football's elite.

"Sadly, Brazil are not in the final. But I have been able to hand one of my cups over to (Brazil coach Luiz Felipe) Scolari and also gave one to Neymar -- he signed one for me which I'm keeping.

Meneghini, who on the advice of one early purchaser came up with a mould to boost production, said he hoped "our brothers, our friends" Argentina beat Germany to get the real trophy on Sunday.

"The Argentinians share our passion for football, The Germans are admirable but I am cheering for Leo Messi, who is such a fantastic footballer."

Meneghini was moved to start his hobby in 1994 when he saw Brazilian skipper Dunga lift the Cup in the United States after beating Italy in the final.

As fans rush to buy his plaster and gold-painted creations, other fans of World Cup art prefer the rather more classic, two-dimensional fare of Luiz Rocha.

Rocha, a 31-year-old who studied visual arts at Rio's Bennett Institute, paints tableaux of match scenes -- either on canvas or the mugs which hold fans' beer at the stadiums.

Inspired by modernist Brazilian artists Rubens Gerchman and Helio Oiticica, Rocha's paintings of Neymar goals in particular have been a hit in souvenir stores in Rio's Santa Teresa district.

"I look to live art in the intensity of the moment, transmitting the emotion from my heart onto canvas," said Rocha, who paints in a bedroom just a street away from the Maracana stadium.

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