Rio: mural and Maracana

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On a wall at the end of the Copacabana, the other end from the Fanfest on the beach, a street artist created a tribute artwork stretching a good 40 metres.

The David Luiz free-kick probably epitomised Brazil’s best moment. Even aside from anything Neymar did, this goal was celebrated like nothing else – probably as the hosts realised that maybe they could win the World Cup.

**Click on the pics to enlarge

Continue reading Rio: mural and Maracana

Flamengo 1 Atletico Paranaense 2

Well I think I’ve seen just about everything at a football game now – a woman breastfeeding her child on the terrace. Maybe over here, kids are born at the match.

Rio, weaning itself off the World Cup, was suffering from football-glut – and not hosting games immediately after the Germany-Argentina final. Presumably the police needed a rest.

Continue reading Flamengo 1 Atletico Paranaense 2

11 cracking Germany games

20140712-153752-56272785.jpgGermany matches are always a thrill.

Back in the day if they lost and you were there you were guaranteed an unforgettable experience and a warming dose of schadenfreude that flooded organs you didn’t know you possessed.

Since seeing them three times at the 2006 World Cup, even their wins have become something to relish as my weltanschauung has widened and I learned that the childhood Victor comic German was an embarrassing cliche..

Here’s the cracking 11 Germany games I’ve been to, each memorable in its own way.

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Uncle Samba bows out – Belgium 2 United States 1

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Belgium versus the US. I almost didn’t fancy it. You don’t expect thrills.

You buy the ticket, do the calculation and think the match has Belgium v Portugal written all over it. Should be good.

There was nothing in the build-up to suggest we were about to see the best contest so far.

Continue reading Uncle Samba bows out – Belgium 2 United States 1

Fortaleza fan fest fun: a critical evaluation

20140625-104307-38587808.jpgFan fests – what are they like?

Kharkiv two years ago in Ukraine was dominated by the Dutch, who brought their oompah songs, orange boiler suits and their shtrange anticsh that would probably be banned in any other country.

It was much more fun than the game that followed.

Continue reading Fortaleza fan fest fun: a critical evaluation

Klose but no cigar – Ghana 2 Germany 2

IMG_5205[1]The guy from Rio at the pre-match bar by the Castelao was not impressed.

He said: “Fortaleza. This is the worst regional capital in our country. It is so poor.”

For the first time since arriving we certainly saw the extremities of the rich-poor divide in this country.

And on the pitch, there was a similar stark contrast to see.

Continue reading Klose but no cigar – Ghana 2 Germany 2

Geeks and Greeks – Japan 0 Greece 0

Japan v Greece, Natal
The last thing you expect in Brazil is to pick up a spare ticket from a bloke from Merthyr.

Just bumped into the in the street and never met them before. Paul, mid-40s, Yan, from Swansea now living Joao Pessoa and Rangers fan Gary had a spare.

And with chances diminishing by the second I was lucky to get in.

Continue reading Geeks and Greeks – Japan 0 Greece 0

Turkey vultures and stuff – World Cup week 1

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I’ve been to two games and watched maybe only five more on TV due to the logistics of travelling around. But that has left time to soak up images and experiences of Brazil you don’t get if you spend six or seven hours a day gawping at a box. Luckily I missed Iran v Nigeria but it would have been good to see Holland spank Spain.

I wouldn’t dare to try to encapsulate the country on what I’ve seen.

Continue reading Turkey vultures and stuff – World Cup week 1

One nation under a groove – Ivory Coast 2 Japan 1

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Who are the best team at the World Cup? Think I’ve already seen them.

They are the Ivory Coast fan band. Six drums, five male drummers and 25-30 synchronised maracas shakers/dancers, most of them women.

They hammered out a faultless rhythm throughout both halves of an enthralling opening game in Recife.

Continue reading One nation under a groove – Ivory Coast 2 Japan 1

Masks, monsoon and Mariachi – Mexico 1 Cameroon 0

Mexico v CameroonIf we come back again in another life – don’t worry I’m not a believer – maybe it would be good to be Mexican.

So many questions. Are they born with the wrestle masks on? Are the Mitchell Johnson moustaches for real? I was tempted to tug one to test it. Are they always like this – hyper-crazed monomanical footballholics.

What an amazing day out you get with the Gimp Nation at the football. They were absolutely bonkers bazonkas.

Continue reading Masks, monsoon and Mariachi – Mexico 1 Cameroon 0