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
Yesterday, on the last night of the Rio Carnaval parade, the Samba school União Da Ilha provided plenty of amusement with its UK themed parade. The build-up explained that the idea was to celebrate the Olympics being held in London this year and then being passed to Rio for 2016. As such there was much excitement in our household about which British stereotypes would be wheeled out – even the family dog couldn’t contain himself or at least that was my interpretation of the big poo he did on the kitchen floor five minutes before it started (some might say that was a bad omen).
Personally, I was hoping that they would go topical and depict a load of kids of kids in hoods burning police cars and looting shops. Unfortunately, União Da Ilha did not share my vision. Nevertheless they did not disappoint as they provided an 80 minute short course in the history and mythology of the UK – all presented in the form of Samba dance and music. So British! Continue Reading