Joga Bonito

I received probably my favorite email ever on Saturday when I got confirmation from FIFA for two tickets to match 55 in Dortmund on Tuesday.  Back in May when I put my name and money down on the waiting list for this game, I had hoped against all odds for Brazil-USA.  But Brazil-Ghana was almost as excellent.  And this is how the day went.

At 9am we were on the road for the 3 hour drive to Dortmund.  It was cloudy, drizzling and in the low 60s, but that didn’t dampen our spirits as we cruised through Belgium and the Netherlands into Germany.  We were going to see the Samba Kings play live in the WC.  

After picking up our tickets from the box office, we fortified ourselves with the vital beer and sausage combination.  Despite it being 4 hours until kickoff, decided to just hang around the stadium until gametime instead of heading into Dortmund.  Plenty of food and beverage to be found and the Brazilian fans were already geared up. 

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There are approximately 200,000 Brazilians traveling around Germany during the WC.  And these people know how to have a good time.  A constant dim of drums was in the air as everywhere were groups of fans dancing, singing, posing for pictures and just enjoying life.  It must be great to be a Brazilian and have such a passionate love for sunshine, dancing, and soccer. 

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This guy’s drumming apparatus was awesome. 

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We entered the stadium about an hour before kickoff.  A sizeable contingent of Brazil fans were making a racket behind one goal, but most of the 66,000 were rooting for Ghana.  It’s true that almost everyone’s 2nd favorite team is Brazil, but at this point in the WC that no longer matters.  If your team is still alive, you root for someone to beat Brazil because you don’t want to play the 5-time champions.  So the Black Stars of Ghana had temporarily become Germany’s favorite team. 

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As kickoff approached there was a definite buzz around the stadium.  Probably few sporting events have this type of electricity.  It was like waiting for Tiger to tee off, Michael to be announced or Tyson to strut to the ring.  And when the players entered flashbulbs popped off like 11 Elvises had hit the stage. 

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The game was fantastic live.  Ghana was flying around, stringing together chances, using the crowd’s energy but never could find that elusive goal.  Brazil was intriguing. They seemed content to let Ghana have the ball and then in a flash Brazil would score.  Ghana played well and still they were lucky not to lose 8-2 instead of just 3-0. Witnessed some history as well when Ronaldo scored his 15th WC goal breaking the record he shared with Der Bomber, Gerd Muller. 

After the game we took the U-bahn downtown Dortmund to watch FranceSpain on the big screen while the Brazilians tooted their horns. 

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Dortmund was packed with fans.  Most people were rooting for Spain, but France prevailed 3-1.  Didn’t lighten the mood though, as I’m sure the party was still going long after we got back to Brussels at 2am.   Overall, it was a fantastic day at the WC. 

If you wish there are more photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/57226564@N00/.

Enjoy the games. 

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