FIFA's 90-second anthem rules has unintentionally created some of the most emotional and patriotic moments of the World Cup
German soccer fans sing the national anthem prior to the kick off of their team's first game at the World Cup 2014 at a public viewing zone called 'fan mile' in Berlin, Monday, June 16, 2014. Germany plays against Portugal in a group G match at the soccer World Cup 2014 in Brazil. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
Belgium's Romelu Lukaku sings the national anthem before the group H World Cup soccer match between Belgium and Algeria at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Tuesday, June 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
A fan joins in the singing of the Brazilian national anthem prior to the start of the World Cup group A soccer match between Brazil and Mexico, at the FIFA Fan Fest in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Tuesday, June 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)
Ivory Coast's Serey Die is overcome with emotion as they play the national anthem before the group C World Cup soccer match between Colombia and Ivory Coast at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, Brazil, Thursday, June 19, 2014. Serey Die sobbed uncontrollably as his nationâs anthem was played. He said the âemotion overwhelmedâ him as he was thinking about his father who died in 2004, and about his âtough lifeâ before making it to the World Cup. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Dutch King Willem-Alexanderd and his wife Queen Maxima sing the national anthem before the start of the group B World Cup soccer match between Australia and the Netherlands at the Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Wednesday, June 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
Mathieu Valbuena of France sings the national anthem during the friendly soccer match between France and Norway at the Stade de France stadium in Saint Denis, outside Paris, Tuesday, May 27, 2014. France are preparing for the upcoming soccer World Cup in Brazil starting on 12 June. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
By TALES AZZONI
AP Sports Writer
TERESOPOLIS, Brazil (AP) -- Go ahead, FIFA, stop the music if you want. Fans will keep singing anyway.
FIFA limits anthems to 90 seconds so they can get the World Cup games going quickly. But many national songs last much longer, and the fans -- particularly South Americans proud to have the cup in their territory -- are loudly taking over with a cappella renditions of the anthems that are bringing tears to the eyes of players.
Unintentionally, FIFA has created some of the most emotional and patriotic moments of the World Cup.
"When we hear the anthem being sung like that, we get extra motivated, there's no doubt about that," Brazil captain Thiago Silva said. "It shows that the fans are with us. It has become part of the national team and that has had a great influence on how we play."
Brazilian fans started doing it last year, and supporters of Chile and Colombia have picked up on the idea.
With no music in the background, hearing tens of thousand fans sing together has caused goose bumps for many in the stadiums and shocked players from opposing teams.
Before both of Chile's World Cup games, fans sang for nearly 30 seconds after FIFA cut off their anthem- the chorus of which says Chile will be the tomb of the free or the refuge against oppression.
"The way they sing the national anthem is impressive, spectacular," Chilean federation president Sergio Jadue said.
Colombian fans put on a spectacle in the match against Greece in Belo Horizonte, loudly belting out "Oh Gloria Inmarcesible!" ("Oh Unfading Glory!") for nearly 30 seconds after FIFA stopped the music inside the packed Mineirao Stadium.
Brazil's anthem normally lasts almost four minutes and has an introduction of nearly 20 seconds before the lyrics start. FIFA said the Brazilian federation provided a 60-second version.
After the music ends, Brazilian players and fans continue singing even louder for nearly a minute, belting out the lyrics, which include a reference to "the resounding cry of a heroic people." The sing-a-along ignites the crowd and motivates the team.
"The reaction from the fans to the anthem has been amazing," goalkeeper Julio Cesar said after the opener against Croatia in Sao Paulo. "It brings them closer to us and we get closer to them."
Croatia's players appeared surprised when the crowd kept singing. Some looked to the Brazilian players to see what they were doing, but remained in line respectfully.
FIFA said the fans' singing has not prompted any special instructions, and it was not immediately considering changing the rule.
"I don't think FIFA can stop us from doing this, we will sing if we want to, nobody can stop us," said 36-year-old Brazilian fan Vanessa Molica Teixeira. "It's a way for us to express our nationalism, to show how proud we our or our Selecao."
The first time it happened was before the match against Mexico in last year's Confederations Cup, the World Cup warm-up tournament. Cesar said everybody was caught by surprise when the fans kept singing. The players quickly joined in, and a new tradition was born.
In addition to singing, Brazilian players have started to enter the field with their hands on each other's shoulders. Silva asked the fans to embrace side-by-side while singing, just as the players have been doing. Most of the fans did that in Tuesday's match against Mexico in Fortaleza.
Before a game at the National Stadium in Brasilia on Thursday, Ivory Coast midfielder Serey Die sobbed uncontrollably as his nation's anthem was played. He said the "emotion overwhelmed" him as he was thinking about his father who died in 2004, and about his "tough life" before making it to the World Cup.
The French are usually some of the most emotional when singing "La Marseillaise," but there was only frustration when it wasn't played because of an audio-system malfunction before the team's opener in Porto Alegre last week.
"Whether it's the officials, or the players, we're the ones affected by it and it's a pity," France captain Hugo Lloris said. "A national anthem is something so important. We're playing in the World Cup, we're representing our country."
Associated Press writer Pablo Giussani contributed from Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
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