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Brazilian ways to enjoy the World Cup

The Age logo The Age 11/06/2014 Jessica Wright and Bhakthi Puvanenthiran
Copacabana staff Romeo Omar and Luciana Reboucas. © Angela Wylie/Fairfax Media Copacabana staff Romeo Omar and Luciana Reboucas.

Can't go to Rio? Forced to call Australia home during the World Cup? Then you might consider the Copa - Copacabana, that is - for your taste of soccer celebrations, Brazilian-style.

Melbourne is careering into full-blown World Cup fever ahead of the opening ceremony in the wee hours of Friday morning, and the Brazilian community is leading the festive charge.

Melburnians not making the pilgrimage to South America can experience the flavours of the greatest show on earth at local restaurants, bars, clubs and pubs.

But while the local hospitality and entertainment scene has risen to the challenge - offering myriad ways to see the matches live - Melbourne will be without a free outdoor hub to watch the World Cup.

The City of Melbourne confirmed on Wednesday that it ''does not have any plans to run any live sites during the upcoming FIFA World Cup and is not aware of any other planned live sites''.

Sports fans may consider Federation Square an obvious spot to view the action, but it has only screened the World Cup once, in 2006. For the 2010 World Cup it was dropped at the last minute as the official public site in favour of Birrarung Marr. ''It's lovely that the public consider Federation Square a hub for live sport but in fact we have only screened the World Cup once,'' Federation Square marketing manager Jane Sydenham-Clarke said.

Victorian Labor MP Martin Foley lamented the lack of venues, suggesting community infrastructure should be used for events like the World Cup.

''The least the Victorian government can do to support our Socceroos is to make Fed Square available for Victorians to get on board with the World Cup,'' he said.

Brazilian dance studios and entertainers have been inundated with requests for dancers in full Brazilian costume to perform at corporate, public and private parties, according to Ekaterina Kourilova, director of Melbourne salsa specialists, Entertainment Dance Creations.

Brazilian restaurants and cabaret bars have also experienced a massive upswing in bookings and are offering World Cup-themed parties, menus and festivities.

Owner of Fitzroy's Brazilian party spot, the Copacabana International, Didi Fonseca, is a former policeman who moved to Australia more than 30 years ago and has flown back to witness the World Cup on Brazilian soil.

But his bar and restaurant - staffed primarily by Brazilian nationals - will keep the party going and is tipped to be a hot spot for the host nation's matches.

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