Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Brazil Diary: 'Sing, don't cry' at Copacabana Fan Fest
by Mike Woitalla, June 29th, 2014 11:28PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Confidential

MOST READ
TAGS:  brazil, mexico, world cup 2014

MOST COMMENTED

By Mike Woitalla
(@MikeWoitalla)

The viewing area at the Copacabana Fan Fest is long but narrow -- about 30 yards wide. So there's not much elbowroom, even when it's below its 20,000-person capacity.

But the fans circumvent a sand castle adorned with plastic beer cups a 7-year-old girl, wearing a Mexico jersey, is working on two hours after El Tri’s elimination. By now the Greece-Costa Rica game is underway. The young man at the Information Booth says for more popular matchups, one can barely move. The line to enter has reached half a mile.

Many of the queries he gets are from people who have had their wallets or phones stolen. “But that can happen anywhere,” he says.

He’s worked every game, he says, but did not hear about the woman reported being stabbed by a group of boys who tried to steal her purse on Saturday. He’s seen just one fight, between rivals of Brazilian clubs, and says it wasn’t severe.

Today is completely peaceful and friendly -- and surprisingly sober. Some Mexican fans, as they slalom through the crowd, sing “Cielito Lindo,” belting out the chorus, “Ay, ay, ay, ay, Canta y no llores” (Sing, don’t cry).

The first six fans I meet are from Brazil, the USA, Argentina, Germany, England and Australia.

At the Information Booth, I ask about the food selection, as I can’t seem to find any concessions besides beer -- a 12-ounce Brahma costs $2.75 – soda and water. “They only sell hot dogs and they taste like s***,” he says.

Fan Fests became a big part of the World Cup experience in 2006 in Germany, where 16 million cumulatively watched games on the big screens throughout the tournament.

The Copacabana Fan Fest is on the beach, but you can’t see the ocean because the fest is enclosed by temporary metal wall. Besides a zip line, and the high-quality big screen, most notable are booths of various World Cup sponsors.

We leave at halftime to find a more comfortable place to watch the game and get a snack -- Aipim frito (yucca fries). Costa Rica wins when Michael Umana slams home the deciding shootout penalty kick. Every one in the place celebrates the Costa Rica win although none appear to be Ticos.

Umana, now with Saprissa, played 15 games for the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2005 and 50 for Chivas USA in 2010-11. Columbus Crew defender Giancarlo Gonzalez also converted his penalty kick. It’s the second straight day that a player with MLS connections starred in a shootout. On Saturday, Brazilian goalkeeper Julio Cesar stopped two shots against Chile to save the host from a shocking early elimination. Julio Cesar, after losing his starting spot at Queens Park Rangers played seven games for Toronto FC to prepare for the World Cup.

All the morning newspapers featured Julio Cesar on the front page with most of them calling him the “savior.”

The Brazilian performance had been most discouraging for a team expected to win the World Cup, but the fans are keeping the faith. “We’ll get better” … “The referee robbed us of two penalty kicks” … “The win showed we have luck on our side.”

A 60-something woman we’ve asked for directions uses the expression “pernas de pau” to describe Brazil’s performance against Chile. They played as if they had “wooden legs.”

“But they’ll still win the World Cup,” she says.


No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Confidential
Struggles of MLS Cup finalists are to be expected for smaller-market teams    
Portland and Columbus defied the odds -- and economic reality -- by reaching the MLS championship ...
Olympic women's soccer: Our winners & losers    
Olympic women's soccer left the taste of what might have been. A USA-Brazil semifinal at Maracana ...
'Cagey' Swedes deserve some credit    
The USA women fell short of the semifinals of a major tournament for the first time ...
'Worst MLS signing' Lampard is tearing it up    
A great run of form earned New York City FC midfielder Frank Lampard Player of the ...
Assessing the middle third -- of the MLS season    
Coaches and executives often speak of dividing a season - much as they do of the ...
Schmid departure starts to clear Sounders' deck for Lagerwey    
Eighteen months after joining the Sounders as president of soccer and general manager, Garth Lagerwey is ...
Toronto FC must rebound after embarrassing defeat for crucial home stand    
After an eight-game road trip to open the season, Toronto FC is in a playoff spot ...
Quakes need to build on stunning victory    
Every struggling team looks for a spark, a turning point, a shift of fortune that transforms ...
MLS Midseason Awards: Villa and the other Kamara are among the leaders    
The six major categories of awards presented each season by MLS run the gamut of experience, ...
Are U.S. women ready for another union fight?    
This should have been a good week for the National Women's Soccer League.
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives