The feel-good factor
Throughout this World Cup, the streets of Salvador, Porto Alegre, Sao Paulo and Fortaleza have been full of Dutch fans parading their team’s colors. This is the journey that the tournament has taken them on, one they hope will eventually lead to the final at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio.
But they’re not alone, because more and more Brazilians have started to wear the color of the Dutch team. Joao Gomes is one of them.
Most Brazilians will only wear their yellow Divine Canaries shirt (even in bed) but this young entrepreneur is showing his appreciation for the team that has been staying in his backyard for weeks.
This particular afternoon is no different. If you walk down Copacabana beach, you can spot Joao from a distance, thanks to his orange wig and the orange stripes on his cheeks. He also has a habit of jumping up and down and joining in the celebrations every time the Dutch win a match.
I decided to find out more.
Why the orange?
"It's all about the feel-good factor. While the Brazilian team is hidden somewhere deep in the provinces, far away from everything and everybody, the Dutch are staying right among the people of Rio de Janeiro. And the great thing is, they don't shut themselves off. They go out and about, for instance to the beach where you can easily take pictures of them. This has generated a lot of goodwill. Not just with me, but with many Brazilians."
You seem to put a lot of work in this. You look more orange than some of the Dutch fans.
"That's just who I am, you know. When I do something, I do it right. Actually, I only wanted to wear an orange shirt, but when I saw this wig, I thought I'd wear that as well. Next to Brazil's green-yellow and Belgium's bright red, this is a fine color. Really striking."
The Dutch are not only known for their effective football, but also for the amazing outfits of their fans. Do you like the way they dress?
"They are fantastic. Last week on TV I even saw a fan with some carrots on his head. It was so bizarre, I'd never seen anything like it. Then I knew for certain that they are really crazy. I immediately voted for him when he was nominated for the most conspicuous supporter of this World Cup."
Will you be dressing up like this during the tournament?
"No, I don't think so. I'm capable of many things, but perhaps I better leave this to the Dutch."
Maybe the Netherlands and Brazil will meet on July 13, at the World Cup final?
"That would be wonderful, of course. Like I said, I really hope the Dutch will be there. Although I don't think they'll win! The Brazilians are undoubtedly too strong, and of course, they have the home advantage. Besides, Holland will have to do without me on that day. I really do like the color orange, but with Brazil in the final, I couldn't wear anything but yellow."