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Auburn man offers unique insight into World Cup

Frank Pinguelo looking ahead to 2014 in Brazil
By: Colin Berr Journal Staff Writer
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Flying high above his Auburn home, Frank Pinguelo’s Brazilian flag pays tribute to the greatest soccer nation the world has ever seen. Just below flies the flag of Portugal, the nation that gave birth to mighty Brazil. The five-time World Cup winner has produced some of the greatest players in the world, including soccer legend Pelé, and is known to have an artistic flair for gymnastic moves and kicks. It also produced Frank Pinguelo, who immigrated to the United States when he was just 5 years old. Born to Portuguese parents, the World Cup means more to Pinguelo than just a colorful sporting event. As the coming-together of nations, it represents a link to his far-away family and friends. “So many people in the world are excited about the sport, especially the ones back home in Brazil,” Pinguelo said. “I’d be talking on the phone with family back home all about the latest matches.” With global connections, Pinguelo has a knowledge of the game that would rival most commentators. Pinguelo is hopeful about Brazil’s chances for 2014. Brazil will be his No. 1 team of course, but Pinguelo also offered a surprise second choice. “The U.S. team excites me,” he said. “These kids don’t give up. They have that American, fight to the end spirit. They’re not far away from something big.” Few things could be bigger than a match at the Maricana in Rio de Janeiro, the biggest soccer stadium in the world. “They actually have a moat around the field to keep fans off the field and in their seats,” Pinguelo said. “But watch out if you get caught with the opposite team’s fans. If they’re not happy with the team you’re supporting, you’ll be tossed over many heads and into the moat!” His prediction last week for this World Cup’s final? A Spanish victory over the Netherlands. But that’s almost already yesterday’s news for Pinguelo. He’s looking forward to 2014, when he’ll be in Brazil, lost in a sea of yellow, green, and blue. Reach Colin Berr at colinb@goldcountrymedia.com.