The Pride of Portugal

It was clear that, in the midst of a couple thousands Portugal fans gathered in Brampton’s Garden Square Sunday to watch the Euro 2016 championship game on the big screen television, she was the most emotionally charged.

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It’s not clear why Chantel Pereira, 16, invested so much of her heart and soul into the game played at Le Stade de France between the home French squad and the Portugal team; love of the game, pride in her heritage, historical importance of a win, or some personal connection with players.

Perhaps, it was all of that.

But her reactions were priceless.

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Above, she turns away after watching Cristiano Ronaldo carted off the field after only 24 minutes of play.

Below, she reacts to a missed call on the field.

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Arms raised in anguish, below, Chantel clearly tries to influence the referees from a few thousand kilometers away.

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Below, the reaction following a Portugal corner that almost goes in.

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She channels a little help from above with a prayerful position, below…

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…and jumps with gleeful anticipation as the clock winds down in extra time.

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Then she erupts with unbridled emotion as the final whistle blows to seal Portugal’s 1-0 win and their first international championship.

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Overcome with relief and triumphant euphoria, Chantel can no longer stand and falls to her knees, tears of joy down her face.

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It was difficult not to be swept up in the joy and emotion the win had over the Portuguese community in Brampton, Ontario, even though I have no personal ties to Portuguese heritage. It was also nice to see our Canadian diversity expressed in a positive, fun, and safe manner.

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