Going nuts in Natal

The opening game is less than 48 hours away but the Mexicans are in pole position to be the best fans here.

After four days in Brazil, I wouldn’t have said the country has been in the sort of frenzy that usually grips England ahead of the tournament.

Probably due to conflicted feelings across the country given political debate on whether it should host the tournament, Recife and Natal have seemed muted.

Until the Mexicans turned up today, that is.

They’ve been seeping into the area in dribs and drabs.

And this mariachi band had the Ponte Negra area, south of Natal, captivated with an unexpected appearance at dusk, which is about 5.30pm here.

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Natal’s beach is breathtakingly beautiful. Unlike Recife, it’s not overshadowed by hulking skyscrapers.

You can swim in the sea. Recife advises you don’t because sharks lurk near the shore.

Dunes border a long stretch of the coast, separating it from the city.

A fellow hostel resident, who lives in Los Angeles, said: “I think maybe 30,000 will come over, even without tickets, just to watch the games here.”

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Brazilian TV has been down to the beach to start capturing some of the colour. It’s mainly Mexicans here at the moment.

Many Yanks are here, easily visible because they’re the tallest people for miles – Brazilians and Mexicans are noticeably shorter – and many sport those startling hipster beards.

There’s some Argentinians, I’ve heard reports of a QPR fan being sighted and of course, there’s one Welshman here.

Below, a TV reporter interviews a young lad and some Argentinian fans.

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Mexico fans are lucky in that all three group games are in the north east corner – against Cameroon here on Friday, In Fortaleza against Brazil next Tuesday and then Croatia in the final match in Recife.

For the moment, it’s the place to be. Just listen to this marvellous mariachi, it gets better after 20 seconds:

As the hostel resident said: “Band like that will cost you 400 bucks back home for three hours. We got it for free!”

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