RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazilians bitter about their team's disastrous World Cup celebrated Argentina's defeat to Germany in the final Sunday by dancing and launching fireworks, relieved that their arch-rivals failed to triumph on their soil.
In Brasilia and Sao Paulo, fireworks exploded after Mario Goetze scored in extra-time to give the Germans a last-gasp victory at Rio de Janeiro's Maracana Stadium.
At a bar near the stadium, Brazilians chanted "Cry! Cry! Argentina!" in a nod to the song "Don't cry for me Argentina." Tens of thousands of Argentine fans who had swarmed Rio's Copacabana beach to watch the game on a jumbo screen fell silent while Brazilians broke into song and danced. Some even waved German flags.
"Thank God, thank God that Germany won," said Caio Ferraz, 45, a Brazilian looking up at the stars on the legendary beach.
"If Argentina had won, they would have made fun of us for years," said Ferraz, who wore the jersey of Rio club Flamengo, whose red and black stripes match Germany's away jersey.
Germany became the first European country to win the Cup in Latin America, but that was not enough to convince many Brazilians to support their southern neighbours.
Germany even humiliated Brazil in the semi-finals, trouncing the hosts 7-1.
But the rivalry with Argentina trumped everything.
Seeing their rivals win in their temple of football would have deepened the nightmare for Brazilians still dizzy from Brazil's semi-final defeat and 3-0 third-place play-off loss to the Netherlands.
Brazilians painted the German flags on their cheeks or even wore the European team's jersey.
Flamengo is Germany
At a Rio bar, several Brazilians cheering for Germany wore Flamengo's shirt.
Brazilians and Germans hugged each other, with Europeans saying they wanted their team to win the tournament for their hosts.
"We never want Argentina to win here in Brazil. Never," said Cassio Conceicao, 51, wearing his beloved Flamengo jersey.
"Germany respected us even though they thrashed us," he said.