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World Cup Portfolio: Brazilian Fans Really, Really Love Their Yellow Jerseys

"Babies wear them, silicone-implanted housewives, and old men with walkers, too."

Matthew Niederhauser

Matthew Niederhauser is reporting from Brazil with support from the Pulitzer Center.

It’s not fair to bring up soccer in an exercise of color association: The answer is always yellow. Brazil's yellow. No other color so instantly evokes the majesty of the world’s most beautiful game.

Every Brazilian legend playing in a World Cup—from Pele, Socrates, Zico, to Neymar—stepped on the pitch with a sense of comfort: behind them, an army of yellow and green watched over. But for the first time in 64 years, this World Cup is in Brazil—and on match days that army spills from the stadium rafters to every street corner.

“Looking down from space, the country must beam with all the radioactive yellow shirts worn by its overwhelming multitudes,” wrote The New Republic editor Franklin Foer in this dispatch from Brazil. “Babies wear them, silicon-implanted housewives, and old men with walkers, too.”

The yellow jerseys also appear as an accidential theme of the diaries that photographer Matthew Niederhauser, who is reporting from Brazil with support from the Pulitzer Center, has been making as he hopscotches the country, capturing the World Cup that the TV cameras don't show. —Miles Kohrman