- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 21, 2014

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - Brazilians have high hopes for the World Cup giving their country a big boost from its monthlong run that begins June 12.

That includes soccer fan Jarbas Meneghini, a 46-year-old mechanic who has carved out a side business of making replicas of the trophy that goes to the winner of international soccer’s biggest tournament.

Meneghini came up with the idea as he watched now retired soccer star Dunga holding up the World Cup trophy after Brazil won the 1994 tournament. He started selling his replicas two years later and he’s still at it, producing a small version that he sells for the equivalent of $11 and a large one that goes for $23.

Most of his sales are done by phone or through his Facebook page. Sometimes he delivers orders to clients by meeting them during games at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana stadium.

Meneghini doesn’t say how many he has sold, other than to say sales have been slow. He says he has used part of the proceeds to fix up his street so it will look nice during the World Cup.

Another benefit, Meneghini says, is that his replica business led to him meeting Brazilian national team coach Felipe Scolari as well as players.

His most prized posession is one of his replicas that soccer star Neymar autographed. This one he plans to keep.

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