A Brazilian family whose members have six digits on their hands are cheering their country to victory at the World Cup so they can count the number of trophies on one hand.
Nicknamed ‘Family Six’, some 15 members of the da Silva family have six digits on their hands – and sometimes feet. They are willing their captain Thiago Silva to lead the squad to its sixth World Cup trophy win.
Brazil is the most successful national team in the history of the World Cup, having won five times in Sweden in 1958, in Chile in 1962, in Mexico in 1970, in the USA in 1994 and in South Korea and Japan in 2002.
The da Silvas are hoping this turns to six at Qatar 2022.
Nicknamed ‘Family Six’, some 15 members of the da Silva family (three members pictured) have six digits on their hands – and sometimes feet
The rare genetic variation, called polydactyly, has reportedly been in the da Silva family for four generations
The family surname Silva is common in Portuguese countries and is the most popular surname in Portuguese-speaking Brazil, but the footballer Thiago Silva and the family are not directly related.
The family, however, do want their country to win its sixth World Cup trophy and are looking forward to being able to count all six wins on one hand, something the rest of their countrymen will not be able to do.
Yesterday that ambition came one step closer in Qatar with goals from Jose Vinicius Junior, Junior Neymar, de Andrade Richarlison, and de Lima Lucas Paqueta.
South Korea’s Seung-Ho Paik scored in the 76th minute of play, but it was not enough to counter the Brazilian steamroller.
No doubt the six-fingered family, who live in Aguas Claras, in the Federal District, just outside Brazil’s capital Brasilia, will have been gripping the edges of their seats with all their digits.
The rare genetic variation, called polydactyly, has reportedly been in their family for four generations and ever since Brazil last took the World Cup home, winning in 2002, they have been waiting for the day they can be the only ones to count their country’s wins on just one hand.
‘Family Six’ are said to be confident that Brazil will prevail this time.
Six-fingered student Maria Morena joked: ‘For the next World Cup, you will have to find someone with seven fingers.’
The da Silva family first made headlines in 2014 during the World Cup that was held in Brazil, with two of the family members going to Germany in 2015 to take part in a study looking into how their brains decided to give them a sixth finger, according to local media.
Silvia Santos da Silva, the granddaughter of one of the family’s first members to have six fingers – the late Francisco de Assis Carvalho da Silva – said: ‘They wanted to know about it so they could make better prostheses.’
The study was published in the academic journal Nature and said that hands with six fingers are controlled by more muscles and nerves than hands with five fingers.
Francisco de Assis Carvalho da Silva, nicknamed ‘Six’, was a lawyer and musician who became somewhat famous because of his extra finger. He reportedly founded the Clube do Choro, a traditional music venue in the capital.
Josevaldo de Almeida Thome, 45, another six-fingered Brazilian football fan, also hopes to celebrate his country’s sixth World Cup win on just one hand
Josevaldo de Almeida Thome, said: ‘Whenever there’s a cup I get anxious. The expectation is to be able to do the hexa sign using only one hand with the new title.’
Silvia said that most of her family live in the country’s capital Brasilia, adding that it all started with her maternal grandmother, who passed the trait down to the next generations.
She said: ‘When a baby is born, we immediately ask if it’s going to have five or six fingers, because six is right for us.
‘People, initially, don’t ask so many questions because they think we’re ashamed of having six fingers. But, after they get to know us, they realise that this for us is more natural than anything.’
Silvia, who said her ‘Family Six’ was also known as ‘Familia Hexa’ – ‘hexa’ comes from the ancient Greek word ‘hex’, which means ‘six’ – said that about 10 of her family members watched the first World Cup match against Serbia on 24th November.
Silvia said: ‘We are very festive people. Not all the ‘sixes’ will come, as some are abroad. We are very festive people, my father was a musician, so I grew up in the middle of parties.
‘We will have traditional Serbian meat and sarma, which is cabbage or grape leaves rolled up and cooked with some stuffing.’
It’s unclear if they celebrated their victory against South Korea with kimchi.
Recently, Josevaldo de Almeida Thome, 45, a six-fingered Brazilian football fan who also hopes to celebrate his country’s sixth World Cup win on just one hand, made headlines, with him saying: ‘Whenever there’s a cup I get anxious. The expectation is to be able to do the hexa sign using only one hand with the new title.’