Lazaro Ramos and Camila Pitanga are two well-known and well-loved Brazilian stars - they played the leading couple in the soap Lado a Lado (Side By Side). And they were expected to play a key role in the World Cup group stage draw on 6 December, in the state of Bahia - the historic heart of African-Brazilian culture. When news emerged that the draw would instead be led by the blond, white couple, Fernanda Lima and Rodrigo Hilbert, there was outrage onblogs, forums and social media in Brazil.
"Fifa, we want Lazaro Ramos and Camila Pitanga, ok? They are our face, our people, and we love them!" was one tweet. "As if we weren't already self-sufficient when it comes to racism, Fifa comes over to lend us a hand," was another. US film director Spike Lee even chimed in with criticism of Fifa's power over the game. Many demanded an explanation - and in the absence of one, were quick to come to their own conclusions.