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End of the World (Cup) feeling for fans

PUBLISHED: 13:00 21 June 2002 | UPDATED: 12:08 03 March 2010

DISAPPOINTED and disillusioned, the silence of a nation spoke volumes.

For 90 long agonising minutes Britain had dared to dream a glorious dream of victory today.

DISAPPOINTED and disillusioned, the silence of a nation spoke volumes.

For 90 long agonising minutes Britain had dared to dream a glorious dream of victory today.

It was a dangerous dream of footballing triumph and one that tragically evaded the grass of England's many hopeful fans by little after 9.20 this morning.

Our hopes had been so optimistically high. All over Suffolk, televisions and radios had been eagerly tuned in well before breakfast time today with high spirited parties underway in expectation of a spectacular British win.

At the Martlesham home of BT Exact Technologies, some 350 employees had descended upon their staff restaurant area in the anticipation of a magnificent pre-work party unlike any other.

By 6.30am the first patriotically dressed supporters were in their seats and were ready to do battle with the Brazilians.

Munching on bacon butties and sipping piping hot coffee, their needs had been well catered for and a festival atmosphere had quickly begun brewing.

Cheers rang out well before kick-off in a room lined with Union Jacks and with a huge St George's cross draped across one window.

But the dream of the Brazilians was recognised at Adastral Park too.

From the ceiling hung a single green flag in honour of Britain's footballing rivals and in tribute to the few unashamedly hopeful Brazilians working at the Martlesham site.

There among the dozens of red and white dressed Britons, Francisco Carvalho and Glauber Volkme sat with equal anticipation as their side took to the pitch alongside our own English heroes.

It was with some notable humour and respectful smiles that the pair stood, alone, to mouth the words to a pre-match rendition of the Brazilian national anthem.

And despite the unmistakable English majority, their presence was a token gesture of two sides united in spirited competition.

"I could have watched the game at home or missed out on the match altogether," said an optimistic Francisco. "Instead I decided I'm proud of my country and I will share my emotions with my colleagues – win or lose."

For 20 odd minutes of the first half it had looked in fact like Francisco's dream might have been the one to receive the crushing.

Instead, with moments to go before half time, his nation had equalised and were well on the way to the victory he had prayed so hard for.

It was a desperately tense 90 minutes to say the very least.

As chances came – and went, as injuries threatened and changes were made, the dramatic reactions of BT's lively crowd captured the feeling of an entire country.

They gasped, cheered, shouted, applauded – and at the end, only tears fell short of reflecting our devastating defeat.

"I am just so disheartened," said an emotional Ian Walmsley. "I was so optimistic but it just didn't happen for us.

"It's devastating really. You feel for the lads. They played well, but at the end of the day it just wasn't enough."

Equally frustrated, Phil Watson could not hide his despair either.

Hanging his head in frustration as the dying seconds brought the match to its close, he said: "We just didn't make it count. I am extremely disappointed because like so many people, I believed we could do it.

"It all went wrong and we just didn't get the ball in the box as much as we should have."

That disappointment emanated around Adastral Park as the crowd of supporters slowly and dejectedly left their viewing posts to return to work – or bed.

Only a few very obvious smiles shone around the company restaurant, and those, to Britain's disappointment, belonged to the company's Brazilian patriots.

"I am so thrilled for Brazil," exclaimed Glauber.

"For a long time I sat with my heart in my mouth, praying that victory would be ours and thankfully, we made it through to the end."

He said: "I have to hand it to England and admit that they played fantastically well. I am just grateful that they didn't take full advantage of us being one man down."

And as Britain spends the rest of the day coming to terms with its painful defeat, Glauber will be plotting a much deserved victory celebration – with a touch of typically British behaviour.

"I am celebrating now and I plan to do it in as British a way as possible," he said. "I'll head to the pub this evening but I am not sure that too many people will be willing to buy me a drink."

CEO Stewart Davies was with his employees for the morning's tense match. He said he was pleased to see so many staff joined together to capture the key event.

"We knew that a huge number of our employees would be interested in the matches, so were pleased to offer the opportunity for them to watch the games at work. All the British games have had a great atmosphere and we are pleased to be able to reward our loyal staff in this way."

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