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Argentina in the final: Brazil's World Cup nightmare deepens

Brazil's World Cup nightmare worsened with Argentina reaching the final on Wednesday.

RIO DE JANEIRO: Brazil's World Cup nightmare worsened with Argentina reaching the final on Wednesday.

Still agonising over their 7-1 semi-final defeat to Germany 24 hours earlier, Brazilians will now have to watch their bitter rivals Argentina play for the trophy at the legendary Maracana Stadium on Sunday.

Many Brazilians rooted for the Netherlands to beat Argentina in Wednesday's semi-final. But Argentina beat the Dutch 4-2 in a penalty shootout after a 0-0 draw.

"Seeing Argentina in the final in our home hurts, especially after the Selecao's worst ever defeat," said Marcio Carneiro da Silva, 36, a mailman drowning his sorrows with a beer on the terrace of a Rio de Janeiro restaurant.

His friend Cesar Augusto, 37, already picked a new team for Sunday.

"Now I'm German," he said.

The Brazilian noted that the final will be in the same stadium where Brazil lost the decisive game of the 1950 tournament to Uruguay, a defeat that traumatized the country.

"The nightmare continues," wrote O Dia newspaper in its online edition.

"In addition to not being able to dream about a sixth title, Brazilians will have to live with the real possibility of one of its main rivals triumphing in the ultimate football temple," it said.

The sports daily Lance used a Twitter-like hashtag for its title, #SomosTodosAlemanha! (We Are Alll Germany).

Brazil and Argentina have battled for football supremacy in South America for decades.

Brazilians flaunt their record five World Cup titles at Argentines, whose team has won the trophy twice.

Throughout World Cup history, fans on both sides taunted each other. Argentine fans chanted in stadiums that football legend Diego Maradona was better than Brazilian great Pele.

But the competition goes beyond the pitch. Argentina was a leading emerging nation in the early 20th century but it was eclipsed by Brazil in economic and political might in recent decades.

At the official "Fan Fest" in Sao Paulo, some Brazilians wore the Dutch team's orange colors, applauding every time the Netherlands were close to scoring.

Now they have to cope with the possibility of President Dilma Rousseff handing the trophy to Argentine captain and superstar Lionel Messi.

"I can't imagine Dilma giving the trophy to Argentina at the Maracana. This can't happen," said Marcos Raimondi, a 44-year-old economist wearing the official Dutch team jersey. "It's worse than what happened yesterday. It's a nightmare. Unbearable."

Amadeus Marques, a 27-year-old doctor also in Dutch regalia, was equally dumbstruck.

"This is incredible. I feel the same sensation as yesterday. Since the fourth German goal I was already hoping that Argentina would not go through and that we would play them for third place."

But not all Brazilians were rooting against their South American peers.

Leonan Freitas, a 33-year-old bank worker, was the only one among a group of friends sipping beers at a Rio bar who cheered for Argentina.

"Argentina is a neighbor. I want South America to win," he said to his friends' disapproval. "I was more scared of losing the third-place game to Argentina."

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