Brazil Dedicate World Cup Victory To Ailing Pele

Brazil players stand behind a banner honouring Brazilian football legend Pele after they won the Qatar 2022 World Cup round of 16 football match between Brazil and South Korea at Stadium 974 in Doha on December 5, 2022. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)

 

Brazil’s players paid tribute to legend Pele, who is receiving hospital treatment in Sao Paulo due to his ailing health, after sauntering to a 4-1 World Cup victory over South Korea.

Following Monday’s last-16 match at Stadium 974 in Doha, the players unfurled a huge banner to the 82-year-old, widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time.

First-half goals from Vinicius Junior, Neymar, Richarlison and Lucas Paqueta saw2 Brazil put the game to bed long before Paik Seung-ho’s stunning consolation in the second period.

“It’s hard to talk about what Pele is going through right now but I wish him all the best,” said Neymar, who made his return from an ankle injury to play most of the game.

“I hope he will be back in good health as soon as possible and that we could have at least comforted him with the victory,” Neymar told Globo.

Pele’s battle with colon cancer is providing motivation for the players to try to win a record-extending sixth world title — the first three of which Pele was part of.

“He needs a lot of strength from us and this victory is for him, so that he can come out of this situation and that we can be champions for him,” said Vinicius.

READ ALSO: England’s Bellingham ‘Has Everything’ But Now Comes Biggest Test Yet

‘I was afraid’ 

Neymar’s return gave Brazil a huge boost and they were on fire right from the first minute.

His 13th minute goal from the penalty spot took Neymar to within one goal of Pele’s record 77 strikes for Brazil.

But he admitted there had been moments after he was injured in Brazil’s opening World Cup match against Serbia that he thought his tournament might be over.

“When I got injured I spent a very difficult night. I was thinking of a million different things,” said Neymar, who added he had been “crying a lot”.

“I was afraid of not being able to play in this World Cup again but I had the support of all my teammates and my family who gave me strength.”

Richarlison paid tribute to the team’s talisman, saying Neymar’s very presence on the pitch makes the game easier for everyone else.

“I’m very happy about the return of Neymar. On the pitch he drags away two or three players creating space for the others,” said Richarlison, who now has three goals in the tournament.

“Neymar provides a competitive advantage, he makes the difference on the pitch — he’s the driving force,” added assistant coach Cesar Sampaio.

Richarlison also praised coach Tite’s decision to rest almost the entire first team in their last group stage match, a 1-0 defeat to Cameroon after their progress to the knock-out stages was already secure.

“We played with intensity from the first minute and that was because we rested a part of the team in the last match, so you have to give credit to the boss,” said Richarlison.

Tite’s numerous changes meant he has now given the entire 26-man squad some action at the tournament, with even third-choice goalkeeper Weverton playing the last 10 minutes against Korea.

“The game was practically over when I came on, but no goalkeeper likes to concede a goal,” he quipped.

AFP

Bento Steps Down As South Korea Coach After World Cup Exit

This file picture taken on December 8, 2016 shows the then Olympiacos’ head coach Paulo Bento before the Europa League Group B football match between Cyprus’ APOEL FC and Greece’s Olympiacos FC at Nicosia’s GSP Stadium. SAKIS SAVVIDES / AFP

 

Paulo Bento announced he would not be staying on as coach of South Korea after they were eliminated from the World Cup with a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Brazil on Monday.

“Now I need to think about the future, but I will not be with the Korea team. I am going to rest and then see,” the 53-year-old former Portugal coach said after the loss in the last 16.

“I have just told the players and the president of the national federation.

“This is a decision which I took in September. It was set in stone and today I confirmed it. I have to thank them and am very proud to have been their manager.”

Bento took over following the 2018 World Cup, succeeding Shin Tae-yong.

In Qatar, he led South Korea to the knockout round for the first time since 2010 with a last-gasp win over Portugal in their final group game.

However, they were outclassed by Brazil as they found themselves four goals down before half-time at Doha’s Stadium 974, although they did pull one back late on through substitute Paik Seung-ho.

“I believe we can be very proud of what we have done at this World Cup, and what we have done over the last four years to get here,” said Bento, who coached his home country at the 2014 tournament in Brazil.

A Korean side captained by Son Heung-min got to Qatar by finishing second in their qualifying group behind Iran but their last-16 exit means they have still never won a World Cup knockout tie outside of their home country.

“I think we did really well in the group stage although I think we could have picked up more points as we should have beaten Ghana,” Bento said.

“But I think we can be very proud and I am proud with what we have done over the last four years.”

He added: “This has undoubtedly been one of the best groups of players I have had the opportunity to work with.”

AFP

Neymar Set For World Cup Return As Brazil Eye Quarter-Finals

Brazil’s coach #00 Tite greets Brazil’s forward #10 Neymar as he is replaced during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group G football match between Brazil and Serbia at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on November 24, 2022. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)

 

Neymar looks set to return to action against South Korea in the last 16 of the World Cup on Monday as Brazil step up their bid to be crowned champions for a record-extending sixth time.

The superstar forward has been absent since hurting his ankle in Brazil’s opening match in Qatar and their supporters have been sweating on his fitness ever since.

Coach Tite said the 30-year-old would be assessed in Brazil’s final pre-game training session on Sunday but gave a heavy hint that the Paris Saint-Germain attacker would start.

“He’s going to train this afternoon and if he’s OK, he will play tomorrow,” Tite told reporters.

Pre-tournament favourites Brazil got their World Cup off to a flying start with a 2-0 win over Serbia and then sealed their place in the knockout phase with a 1-0 victory over Switzerland.

READ ALSO: Indonesia Resumes Football League After Stadium Disaster

But they went down 1-0 to Cameroon in their final group game and also lost Arsenal forward Gabriel Jesus for the rest of the tournament, placing even more onus on Neymar to get back to full fitness.

They face a South Korea side who famously reached the semi-finals 20 years ago when the tournament was hosted between them and Japan, who are also in action on Monday, against Croatia.

The Koreans have not reached the knockout stages since 2010 and only got to the last 16 in Qatar thanks to an injury-time winner from Hwang Hee-chan in their final group game against Portugal.

They will need to do an awfully lot better than a friendly in June when Brazil romped to a 5-1 victory with Neymar scoring two penalties.

“We have good memories of 2002, of making it to the last four, and we want to relive that,” said Korean defender Kim Jin-su, who was 10 years old at the time.

Japan veteran Yuto Nagatomo said his side want to show their samurai spirit in their clash with unbeaten Croatia, after having already stunned Germany and Spain on their way to topping Group E.

“Before battle, the samurai would polish their weapons and refine their technique, but if they were scared in battle, all that would count for nothing,” the former Inter Milan left-back said.

“The most important thing is to have courage.”

Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu gives a start against Croatia to forward Ritsu Doan, rewarding him for two goals off the bench in the group phase.

AFP

Jesus And Telles Out Of Brazil’s World Cup Due To Injuries

Cameroon’s defender #24 Enzo Ebosse (L) fights for the ball with Brazil’s forward #18 Gabriel Jesus (R) during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group G football match between Cameroon and Brazil at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on December 2, 2022. (Photo by Jewel SAMAD / AFP)

 

Gabriel Jesus and Alex Telles have been ruled out of the rest of the World Cup with knee injuries, the Brazil team announced on Saturday.

The South American team said the pair, who were hurt during Friday’s 1-0 defeat to Cameroon, both underwent tests on Saturday morning that “confirmed their injuries and the impossibility of them recovering for the rest of the World Cup in Qatar”.

Brazil, who face South Korea in the last 16 on Monday, have problems in defence as Telles’ fellow full-backs, Danilo and Alex Sandro, have also had injury problems.

Arsenal forward Jesus featured in all three of Brazil’s Group G games but the five-time world champions have a wealth of attacking talent.

Coach Tite has said that star forward Neymar will play again in Qatar after spraining his right ankle in Brazil’s opening 2-0 win over Serbia.

Hopes Neymar could feature against South Korea increased after he was seen at the Lusail Stadium with his teammates, walking on the pitch without a limp.

AFP

Skipper Son Eyes ‘Another Miracle’ Against Brazil At World Cup

South Korea’s midfielder #07 Son Heung-min gestures during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group H football match between South Korea and Portugal at the Education City Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on December 2, 2022. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)

 

Son Heung-min wants his South Korea side to pull off “another miracle” and beat Brazil on Monday in the World Cup last 16 after their last-gasp heroics against Portugal.

The Koreans’ tournament looked to be over until substitute Hwang Hee-chan popped up in injury time to score the winner in a 2-1 victory over already qualified Portugal on Friday in Qatar.

That propelled them into the knockout rounds and a daunting date with Brazil, one of the pre-tournament favourites.

But skipper Son, who has been playing in a mask following surgery last month for a fracture around his left eye, said they are not ready to go home just yet.

After what has been a tournament of surprises, the Koreans now want to pull off another one.

“This is great but our tournament is not over,” Spurs attacker Son said following the emotions of the dramatic win over Portugal.

“We’ve always talked about reaching the round of 16 as our objective but we should now try to go beyond that,” Son, who shed tears of joy, told Korean media in Doha.

“I hope we can script another miracle,” he added, having set up Hwang with a searing run and threaded pass through the legs of a Portuguese defender.

READ ALSO: Argentina, Netherlands Eye Quarters As World Cup Last 16 Kicks Off

Some in South Korea are beginning to draw parallels with the national side of 2002 who stunned the world as co-hosts by reaching the semi-finals.

Current assistant coach Sergio Costa, who took charge from the sidelines for the Group H clash with Portugal because coach Paulo Bento was suspended, resisted such talk.

“I cannot compare because I watched the World Cup in 2002 on TV and didn’t know them personally,” said Costa, having masterminded the win over his native Portugal in his boss’s absence.

“I’ve seen a few games from the past but I cannot make a comparison because I didn’t know the Korean team back then.

“I can tell you what it is now — it’s a team that is very honest.

“That is something that we are very proud of, we see those players with a strong personality and they deserve what we have accomplished,” he added.

AFP

Cameroon Beat Favourite Brazil But Crash Out Of World Cup 

Cameroon’s forward #10 Vincent Aboubakar celebrates scoring his team’s first goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group G football match between Cameroon and Brazil at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on December 2, 2022. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)

 

Vincent Aboubakar headed in a stoppage-time winner and was then sent off as Cameroon claimed a memorable 1-0 victory over favourites Brazil at the World Cup on Friday, but still failed to go through to the last 16.

Aboubakar, who had come in to captain Rigobert Song’s team, connected with a cross from substitute Jerome Ngom Mbekeli to break the deadlock in the 92nd minute at Doha’s Lusail Stadium.

He was booked for removing his shirt in the wild celebrations that followed and, having already been cautioned, had to leave his teammates to see out the remainder of the game.

They did so to record a famous win but Switzerland’s 3-2 win over Serbia at the same time meant the Swiss advanced from Group G along with already-qualified Brazil.

Having won their first two matches in Qatar, Brazil topped the group and advance to a last-16 tie against South Korea when their many key players who were rested for this game will return.

Coach Tite sent out a second-string side and the result was Brazil’s first defeat in the group stage of a World Cup since 1998 when they were beaten by Norway.

READ ALSOAlves Sets Record As Brazil Make Nine Changes For Cameroon Clash

Martinelli impresses 

Tite’s mind was on the knockout stage here as he made nine changes, including handing a start to 39-year-old Dani Alves, making him Brazil’s oldest-ever men’s international player.

The spine of Brazil’s second-string side still featured Manchester City’s Ederson in goal, Real Madrid’s Eder Militao in central defence, Fabinho of Liverpool in midfield, and Gabriel Jesus of Arsenal supported by Rodrygo up front.

They also had the 21-year-old Gabriel Martinelli on the left and the Arsenal prospect was their standout performer.

He almost scored the opening goal in the 14th minute when he leapt unmarked but saw his header tipped over by Cameroon’s keeper Devis Epassy. Martinelli also threatened in first-half stoppage time with a dribble across the edge of the area and a shot that Epassy turned behind.

It was a piece of play reminiscent of Neymar, who is still recovering from the sprained ankle that forced him off in the opening 2-0 win over Serbia but watched the action here from just behind the Brazilian bench.

The Brazil fans, who unfurled a banner with a “Get Well Soon” message for Pele, cheered loudly when Neymar appeared on screens inside the enormous stadium.

Needing a win, Cameroon almost went in front in first-half stoppage time when a Bryan Mbeumo header forced a flying save from Ederson.

Brazil had won all seven previous meetings with African opponents at the World Cup, including beating Cameroon in 1994 and again in 2014, and Martinelli was their most likely source of a goal.

He forced Epassy to tip over another strike that was arcing towards the top corner early in the second half, and the Cameroon shot-stopper -– continuing in place of Andre Onana who was dropped for unspecified disciplinary reasons -– turned a Militao shot around the post moments later.

Eager to study all his attacking options, Tite sent on the Flamengo duo of Everton Ribeiro and Pedro, but he also saw Alex Telles come off hurt in the second half.

Telles is the third Brazil full-back to succumb to injury at the tournament after Danilo and Alex Sandro.

At this rate Alves, a year short of his 40th birthday will have a further role to play in Qatar.

Most importantly Brazil will hope to have Neymar back soon but it remains to be seen if he will feature against South Korea on Monday.

Aboubakar grabbed the late winner just when a goalless draw looked like the most likely outcome, and Cameroon deserve huge credit for taking four points from such a difficult group even if they now go home.

AFP

Alves Sets Record As Brazil Make Nine Changes For Cameroon Clash

Brazil’s defender #13 Dani Alves warms up ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group G football match between Cameroon and Brazil at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on December 2, 2022. (Photo by NELSON ALMEIDA / AFP)

 

Dani Alves becomes the oldest player to represent Brazil at the men’s World Cup as the 39-year-old captains the tournament favourites in their final group game against Cameroon at Lusail Stadium on Friday.

Alves, who turned 39 in May and has since left Barcelona to play in Mexico, breaks the record that had been set by current teammate Thiago Silva, who is playing in this World Cup at the age of 38.

However, Alves falls short of the overall Brazilian record of Formiga, who played at the 2019 Women’s World Cup aged 41.

He is also a few months younger than Canada’s Atiba Hutchinson and Portugal defender Pepe, two 39-year-olds who have already played at this World Cup.

Coach Tite makes nine changes in total to the Brazil team that beat Switzerland 1-0 on Monday to clinch qualification for the last 16, with Eder Militao and Fred the only players retained.

Neymar is still sidelined with the sprained ankle he suffered in the favourites’ opening 2-0 victory against Serbia.

Brazil need a draw to be certain of winning the group and facing South Korea in the last 16.

READ ALSO: It Was ‘Important’ To Deny Uruguay World Cup Progression – Ghana’s Amartey 

Cameroon coach Rigobert Song brings in Vincent Aboubakar up front to captain his side, while Nicolas Moumi Ngamaleu starts wide on the left and it is all change in central defence as Christopher Wooh and Enzo Ebosse both come in.

Devis Epassy continues in goal after Andre Onana was dropped for unspecified disciplinary reasons for Cameroon’s last game, a 3-3 draw with Serbia.

The Indomitable Lions have to win and hope Switzerland do not beat Serbia in the other Group G game being played simultaneously if they are to advance to the last 16.

Starting line-ups:

Cameroon (4-2-3-1)

Devis Epassy; Collins Fai, Christopher Wooh, Enzo Ebosse, Nouhou Tolo; Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Pierre Kunde; Bryan Mbeumo, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Nicolas Moumi Ngamaleu; Vincent Aboubakar (capt)

Coach: Rigobert Song (CMR)

Brazil (4-4-2)

Ederson; Dani Alves (capt), Bremer, Eder Militao, Alex Telles; Antony, Fabinho, Fred, Rodrygo; Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli

Coach: Tite (BRA)

Referee: Ismail Elfath (USA)

AFP

Brazil To Rest Key Players Against Cameroon Ahead Of Knockouts

Brazil players celebrate with supporters after they won the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group G football match between Brazil and Switzerland at Stadium 974 in Doha on November 28, 2022. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)

 

Brazil coach Tite is set to follow the lead of France and rest key players for their final World Cup group game against Cameroon on Friday with their place in the last 16 in Qatar already secure.

The World Cup favourites meet Cameroon at the Lusail Stadium needing just a draw to secure top spot in Group G after starting their campaign with wins over Serbia and Switzerland.

Even a defeat would not stop them topping the section so long as the Swiss fail to win at the same time against Serbia, but France have already shown that changing most of your starting line-up does not necessarily work out.

The holders made nine changes for their final group game against Tunisia on Wednesday and put in a disjointed performance in a 1-0 defeat.

“I can only measure the players based on what they do on the field. It is a risk, yes, but it is an opportunity for them to show their quality,” Tite said when asked about the pitfalls of making too many alterations.

READ ALSOMessi Misses Penalty But Argentina Advance At World Cup

Brazil will still be without Neymar and right-back Danilo, who both suffered ankle injuries against Cameroon, while left-back Alex Sandro is ruled out too.

Tite is expected to rest the likes of goalkeeper Alisson Becker, centre-back duo Thiago Silva and Marquinhos, Casemiro, Lucas Paqueta, Vinicius Junior and Richarlison against a Cameroon side who have to win to stand a chance of progressing.

Among the players set to come into the side are Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson, Liverpool midfielder Fabinho, and veteran right-back Dani Alves.

The decision to include the 39-year-old Alves, who made his international debut in 2006, in the squad was criticised in some quarters in Brazil.

Alves, who missed the 2018 tournament due to injury, ended a second spell at Barcelona at the end of last season and is now playing club football in Mexico.

“I have been playing for Brazil for many years and it gives me great satisfaction to be able to close out this cycle by playing at a World Cup,” said Alves, who could be joined in Tite’s line-up by the likes of Antony and Gabriel Martinelli, who are aged 22 and 21 respectively.

“I have been here for 16 years and this is the most balanced squad we have had in that time,” he said.

“Age doesn’t matter in football. Whether you are the youngest or oldest, all that matters is if you are good enough.”

Brazil have lost just once in the first round of the World Cup since 1966, and that defeat in 1998 to Norway came after they had already sewn up top spot in the group.

If they top the group, they will play their last-16 tie on Monday against the runners-up in Group H, which features Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay and South Korea.

AFP

Two Dead, Dozens Missing As Landslide Wipes Out Brazil Highway

This handout picture released by the Santa Catarina Fire Department shows the BR-367 highway blocked after a landslide in Guaratuba, Parana state, Brazil, on November 30, 2022. (Photo by Santa Catarina Fire Department / AFP)

 

At least two people were killed and dozens more are missing after a landslide ripped across a section of highway in southern Brazil, sweeping some 20 cars and trucks along with it, authorities said Wednesday.

The torrent of mud came rushing down a steep hillside Monday after days of heavy rain in the state of Parana, hitting highway BR 367, officials said.

“It’s hard to know the exact number of victims. A vehicle could have one to five people inside. We’re working with an estimate of 30 to 50 people missing,” local emergency response chief Manoel Vasco told a news conference.

Aerial images released by the emergency services showed a massive smear of mud that swept away everything in its path — including a chunk of highway and the vehicles on it.


READ ALSO: Guard Slightly Injured As Letter Bomb Rattles Ukraine Embassy In Madrid


Rescue workers said the bad weather and remote location were complicating the search effort. They are using drones with heat-detecting cameras in hopes of finding survivors.

“Fifty-four firefighters have been working non-stop for more than 35 hours,” the Parana state security authority said in a statement later Wednesday, noting as well concerns over further landslides.

“Two bodies have been found so far, and six survivors have been located, including the mayor of the coastal town of Guaratuba, the nearest city.”

“It was horrible. The mountain just fell on top of us. It swept away every last car. We’re only alive by the grace of God,” the mayor, Roberto Justus, said in a video posted on social media.Brazil is frequently hit by deadly landslides.

The national weather service INMET has issued heavy rain warnings for multiple states.

At least one other person died Wednesday after a section of road was washed out, sweeping away the victim’s car, in the northeastern state of Segipe, Brazilian media reported.

In February, more than 200 people were killed in a series of landslides in the picturesque southeastern tourist town of Petropolis.

Brazil Beat Switzerland To Reach World Cup Last 16

Brazil players celebrate with supporters after they won the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group G football match between Brazil and Switzerland at Stadium 974 in Doha on November 28, 2022. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)

 

Brazil reached the knockout stages of the World Cup on Monday after beating Switzerland 1-0.

Casemiro made sure Group G leaders Brazil qualified for the last 16 with a game to spare by netting the only goal of the match in the 83rd minute at Stadium 974.

AFP

Three Killed In Twin School Shootings In Brazil

 

 

At least three people including an adolescent girl were killed and 11 others wounded Friday when a 16-year-old shooter wearing Nazi symbols opened fire on two schools in southeastern Brazil, officials said.

Authorities in the city of Aracruz, in Espirito Santo state, said the shooter fired on a group of teachers at his former school, killing two people and leaving nine others wounded.

He then left that school — a public primary and secondary school — and went to a nearby private school where he killed an adolescent girl and wounded two other people, officials said.

Authorities have arrested the shooter, said Governor Renato Casagrande, who declared three days of mourning in the state.

“He was a student at (the first) school until June, a 16-year-old minor. His family then transferred him to another school. We have information he was undergoing psychiatric treatment,” Casagrande told a news conference.

He said some of the survivors’ lives remained at risk from their wounds.

“We are rooting and praying for them to recover,” he said.

Security camera footage aired on Brazilian media showed the shooter running into the school dressed in military-style camouflage and brandishing a gun. He then sprinted through the hallways, sending staff fleeing in terror as he began firing shots.

Investigators said he had a swastika on his fatigues and that they were looking into whether he had links to any extremist organisations.

Officials said the shooter, a policeman’s son, used two handguns in the attack, both registered to his father — one his service firearm, the other a privately registered weapon.

Casagrande said the boy appeared to have planned the attack carefully, breaking in through a locked door and skirting the school’s security guard.

He then entered the teachers’ lounge — the first room he came to — and opened fire, the governor said.

“He was looking to shoot people. He opened fire on the first people he came across,” he said.

Civil police commissioner Joao Francisco Filho told reporters it appeared the suspect had been planning the attack for “two years,” and that he did not seem to have a “definite target.”

Investigators could be seen carrying victims’ bodies in coffins and loading them into police trucks outside the school, which was cordoned off with crime scene tape, an AFP photographer said.

The city has a population of around 100,000 people.

‘Absurd tragedy’

School shootings are relatively rare in Brazil, but have been increasing in recent years.

Brazil’s deadliest school shooting left 12 children dead in 2011, when a man opened fire at his former elementary school in the Rio de Janeiro suburb of Realengo, then killed himself.

In 2019, two former students shot dead eight people at a high school in Suzano, outside Sao Paulo, then also took their own lives.

Brazilian president-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva called the latest shootings an “absurd tragedy.”

“I was saddened to learn of the attacks,” he wrote on Twitter.

“All my solidarity to the victims’ families… and my support to Governor Casagrande for the investigation and assistance to the two school communities.”

Lula, who was previously Brazil’s president from 2003 to 2010, will take office on January 1 after defeating far-right President Jair Bolsonaro in elections last month.

He has been sharply critical of Bolsonaro’s dramatic relaxation of gun-control laws.

Since ex-army captain Bolsonaro became president in 2019, the number of registered gun owners in Brazil has more than quintupled, from 117,000 to 673,000, boosted by a series of presidential decrees relaxing regulations on firearms and ammunition.

Public security expert Bruno Langeani of research institute Sou da Paz told AFP the outgoing administration’s policies had made such attacks more likely.

“The increase in availability of firearms in recent years promoted by the Bolsonaro government facilitates this kind of episode,” he said.

The latest attacks spurred calls for gun policy reform.

“Gun policy needs to be reviewed,” tweeted senator-elect Wellington Dias, a Lula ally.

Three Killed In Twin School Shootings In Brazil

Criminal experts carry the body of a victim of a shooting at a school in Aracruz, Espirito Santo State, Brazil, on November 25, 2022. At least three people including an adolescent girl were killed and 11 others wounded when a man opened fire on two schools in southeastern Brazil. Authorities arrested the suspected shooter after a manhunt, state Governor Renato Casagrande said. (Photo by KADIJA FERNANDES / AFP)

 

At least three people including an adolescent girl were killed and 11 others wounded Friday when a 16-year-old shooter wearing Nazi symbols opened fire on two schools in southeastern Brazil, officials said.

Authorities in the city of Aracruz, in Espirito Santo state, said the shooter fired on a group of teachers at his former school, killing two people and leaving nine others wounded.

He then left that school — a public primary and secondary school — and went to a nearby private school where he killed an adolescent girl and wounded two other people, officials said.

Authorities have arrested the shooter, said Governor Renato Casagrande, who declared three days of mourning in the state.

“He was a student at (the first) school until June, a 16-year-old minor. His family then transferred him to another school. We have information he was undergoing psychiatric treatment,” Casagrande told a news conference.

He said some of the survivors’ lives remained at risk from their wounds.

“We are rooting and praying for them to recover,” he said.

Security camera footage aired on Brazilian media showed the shooter running into the school dressed in military-style camouflage and brandishing a gun. He then sprinted through the hallways, sending staff fleeing in terror as he began firing shots.

Investigators said he had a swastika on his fatigues and that they were looking into whether he had links to any extremist organisations.

Officials said the shooter, a policeman’s son, used two handguns in the attack, both registered to his father — one his service firearm, the other a privately registered weapon.

Casagrande said the boy appeared to have planned the attack carefully, breaking in through a locked door and skirting the school’s security guard.

He then entered the teachers’ lounge — the first room he came to — and opened fire, the governor said.

“He was looking to shoot people. He opened fire on the first people he came across,” he said.

Civil police commissioner Joao Francisco Filho told reporters it appeared the suspect had been planning the attack for “two years,” and that he did not seem to have a “definite target.”

Investigators could be seen carrying victims’ bodies in coffins and loading them into police trucks outside the school, which was cordoned off with crime scene tape, an AFP photographer said.

The city has a population of around 100,000 people.

– ‘Absurd tragedy’ –

Relatives of pupils stand at the entrance of the Praia de Coqueiral Educational Centre, one of two schools where a shooting took place, after an armed man opened fire, in Aracruz, Espirito Santo State, Brazil, on November 25, 2022. At least three people including an adolescent girl were killed and 11 others wounded when a man opened fire on two schools in southeastern Brazil. Authorities arrested the suspected shooter after a manhunt, state Governor Renato Casagrande said. (Photo by KADIJA FERNANDES / AFP)

 

School shootings are relatively rare in Brazil, but have been increasing in recent years.

Brazil’s deadliest school shooting left 12 children dead in 2011, when a man opened fire at his former elementary school in the Rio de Janeiro suburb of Realengo, then killed himself.

In 2019, two former students shot dead eight people at a high school in Suzano, outside Sao Paulo, then also took their own lives.

Brazilian president-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva called the latest shootings an “absurd tragedy.”

“I was saddened to learn of the attacks,” he wrote on Twitter.

“All my solidarity to the victims’ families… and my support to Governor Casagrande for the investigation and assistance to the two school communities.”

Lula, who was previously Brazil’s president from 2003 to 2010, will take office on January 1 after defeating far-right President Jair Bolsonaro in elections last month.

He has been sharply critical of Bolsonaro’s dramatic relaxation of gun-control laws.

Since ex-army captain Bolsonaro became president in 2019, the number of registered gun owners in Brazil has more than quintupled, from 117,000 to 673,000, boosted by a series of presidential decrees relaxing regulations on firearms and ammunition.

Public security expert Bruno Langeani of research institute Sou da Paz told AFP the outgoing administration’s policies had made such attacks more likely.

“The increase in availability of firearms in recent years promoted by the Bolsonaro government facilitates this kind of episode,” he said.

The latest attacks spurred calls for gun policy reform.

“Gun policy needs to be reviewed,” tweeted senator-elect Wellington Dias, a Lula ally.

-AFP