At the weekend the article below, about my experience at the World Cup, was published in the Brasil Post. Below is an English translation.
At the beginning of this year I moved to Peru for work and in almost no time at all I developed a profound sense of saudades for São Paulo. It wasn’t that I disliked Trujillo, a small city on the northern coast of Peru, it was just that after two years living in Sampa, this monstrously beautiful city had started to feel as much like home as Londonhasdone throughout the rest of my life – a sentiment probably best exemplified by how I repeatedly found myself telling people in Peru about excited I was to be “returning hometo Brazil”for the World Cup.
Unashamedly excited, I should add. As June approached I regressed in age by about thirty years;like my five year old self at Christmas I started counting down the days, thoughnot in anticipation of Santa but of the opportunity to fulfil a lifelong dream: attending a World Cup. The fact that it would take place in country known as the ‘spiritual home’ of football – and that which I now call my second home – as well as my fortune in being able to buy tickets for myself and my best-friend of twenty years who was flying over to join me, only further increased my giddiness.This was truly going to be the best month, ever. Continue Reading
Even at an early age I was hooked on just about everything to do with football, and my addiction become an obsession when I received a huge encyclopedia about the beautiful game one Christmas.
From it I devoured its history, as well as old statistics and stunning overhead shots of various stadia around the world. One in particular that always stood out was of the Maracanã in Rio and not only because it was the home of the great Brazil teams that my father had told me about, but also because to a young me it just looked so huge – largely, I guess, because it was.
Amazed, I read about how almost 200,000 people (although probably far more) filled it for the 1950 World Cup final and wondered how on earth it was possible to fit almost the entire population of my town in South London into one stadium.
The Maracanã in 1950
On Sunday I went to see Palmeiras take on São Caetano in what was my first live game of ‘futebol’ since arriving back in Brazil. Although I have watched football in Brazil and around South America before it still strikes me how different the experience of watching football is here compared to back in the UK. This is particularly true when you consider that the last game I caught in the UK took place on a very cold and wet night just before New Years Eve – and it involved Dagenham & Redbridge and Gillingham1.
“Why would you do that?” I hear you ask.
Well, Gillingham are the team I support (my father is to blame entirely), and it was my final opportunity to see them play before I left for Brazil. Fortunately, a friend took pity and accompanied me as my wife had point-blank refused to go2. Inevitably, as I have come to experience over many long and painful years, the Gills threw away an early lead and succumbed meekly to a 2-1 defeat against one of the division’s weaker sides.
Gills v Daggers
On Sunday Palmeiras were seemingly just as big a disappointment to their fans. This was because Palmeiras (2nd in the São Paulo State championship) were overwhelming favourites against São Caetano (mid-table3), and as it was a ‘home’4 game the Palmeiras fans seemed somewhat expectant of a routine victory. Unfortunately for them it ended 0-0 despite their new striker Barcos (Argentinian, cool name, looks like a pirate) missing the best of many chances they had to win the game. Continue Reading
On Sunday I went to see my first game of ‘futebol’ since arriving back in Brazil and I’m going to post something soon about how experiencing a game here differs from that in the UK. However, until then here is a link to my sister-in-law’s blog. This post is about when she came to the UK last summer and what she thought about her experience of going to see a game there.
NB. It’s in Portuguese but if you use Google Translate you should get the idea and it’s definitely worth it!
Macarrão com Salsicha Tur – Futebol na Inglaterra | Macarrão com Salsicha.