Sunday, 6 September 2009

When in Rio.... FOOTBALL!!! 20 August 2009

I`m not the biggest fan of football, but I figured there would be no better way than hanging out with the locals at Maracana Stadium on our last night in Rio.

Flamengos (Rio`s own) versus Cruzeira (a team from the province of Sao Paulo).

The evening didn`t start off perfectly. Myself, Laura and two americans JP and Tammy, were sat at the hostel waiting for our pick up. Ten minutes after it was due we enquired at receptions about the wherabouts of our minibus.

It turns out that although we had been sold tickets from the reception, no one at reception had told the minibus driver! Error!

We ended up being picked up over 30 minutes late and were stuck in the horrendous traffic to the stadium. Minutes before kick off we arrived in the stands.

But of course before we took our place with a million other Gringos we found time for facepaints and a balloon animal poodle! Score!

The crowds were in full swing as we entered. Drums. Chants. Flags waving. The atmosphere was electrric! And then the game began.

We obviously had to support the Flamengos as we were stood in the middle of all the Flamengo fans. The Cruseira supporters filled a pitiful area of the stands on the opposite side to us. That said, the stadium was far from full. We were told that the Cariocas (people from Rio) are fair weather people and so don`t go out in the rain, even for their belvoed football!

The games was quite interesting to watch and actually more action packed than I remember. Maybe it was better because i was ther in the flesh and all the other footy matches i have seen before have been on telly. Get me, my first ever football match in Rio! I`m cool!

Laura and I wanted to start chanting for a player, why not?, so we looked to the names on the backs of all the supporters t-shirts! `Go Petrobras` shouts I. `Go Olympnikus` shouts Laura. Except none of the players were called Petrobras or Olympnikus. These were just the sponsors! I mean seriously, who puts the sponsors name on the back of the tshirt, it should so totally be on the front. Even when we realised our faux pas we continued to chant for Petrobras and Olympnikus. Thankfully no one beat us up!

Laura and I certainly got in with the swing of it and we were singing along (we made up our own words to the tune the locals were singing), stamping our feet, clapping our hands, and cheering every time the Flamengos got the ball! All the other Gringos around us were ridiculously boring and just sat and watched. Losers!

Thhe reaction to Flamengoes first goal was incredible. Flares were lit and the celebration went on for a good 15 minutes with chanting and exhileration. Seriosuly, the atmosphere... phenom! I`ve never seen such a response from an audience, they were so happy and so jubilant for their team!

However, this atmosphere quickly changed when Cruzeira scored their two goals. The Flamengos were full on booing their side! FULL ON BOOING! Not the other team, but their team! They were all stamping and stomping their feet and yelling out the most foul words!

Perhaps the most exciting moment of the match was also the scariest. We were stood watching the game, the score was 2,1 to Cruzeira and all of a sudden I looked to my right and saw laods of fans running towards us!


Instinct kicked in and Laura and I both ran in different directions. There was a stampeded coming towards us. I was in flip flops and was trerrified I would stumble, fall and be trampled to death. I just ran and ran and ran. And then everyone stopped running.

What had happenend? Que pasa?

I found laura, JP and Tammy and we all re congregated! It turns out a little scuffle had kicked off and everyone had just done a runner. Fortunately it didn`t come to much. Oh the love of the game.

With ten minutes left of the game the Flamengo fams started to leave the stadium. They were a goal down and from the play there was no chance they were goign to pick it back up, despite mine and Luara`s best encouraging cheers `There`s only one Petrobras!`.

At full time Cruzeira had clinched it. The game was over and the Flamengo fans were spitting and cursing and booing and hissing at the team. The tiny number of Cruzeira fans were jumping around like crazy fools. They had been the underdogs in the game so it was a big deal for them.

The verdict; INCREDIBLE night in Rio! I want to get a job as a press officer for a football club!


  1. I havent even read this post yet.....