• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

My four magic weeks in Brazil climax at the Maracana

So, that's it then. It's over.

Four weeks of football, carousing, travelling, more football, more carousing, more travelling and lots and lots of spending have come to a close in Rio.

Was it worth it? You bet.

Having cashed in almost all of my late Dad's inheritance, mortgaged my three country piles (amazing what the banks will loan money on these days) and sold girlfriend Koula's two children for medical research, we managed to cobble together just enough to acquire a ticket for the final.

Loading article content

Rio. Rio de Janeiro. The favelas, the imposing statue of Christ the Redeemer, the Barra de Tijuca and, of course, the Maracana itself. The most famous football stadium in the world.

I've always been one for supporting a team in any sporting encounter but this time I'm more than a bit conflicted. It's easy to admire the Germans for their efficiency and consistent high achievement but glamour wise they've always tended to be found a bit lacking.

The Argentinians, on the other hand, have glamour to spare, not to mention raw emotion, a feature of this World Cup where more tears have been in evidence than a Ken Dodd concert.

(Talking of glamour, the sheer number of attractive women we've seen at all the games has been remarkable.

Once upon a time football was a man's game, played and watched by blokes with names like Willie, Bobby and Alec with nary a women in sight, save the ones who sold half-warmed pies and stone cold Bovril's.

Nowadays, the game is for the whole family - nothing wrong with that - and the whole family make a big effort to dress up: face paint, funny hair and slinky replica shirts replacing the good suit usually worn with a collar and tie and a brushed nylon scarf discreetly stowed away in the jacket patch pocket.)

For the first time ever, I really didn't care who won, such was the magical feeling of simply being there, watching it all unfold.

As daylight changed to twilight and then darkness, the true spectacle of the Maracana took over. A cacophony of noise and atmosphere where 90 minutes seemed to be over in less than 10 as the play flowed and ebbed, albeit without any goals.

Then, in extra time, the Germans scored and went ballistic, as the Argentinians, to a man, woman and child, dissolved into mass collective weeping. (Which, incidentally cheered up the Brazilians no end, since an even bigger nightmare than being thrashed in the semi-final would have been the noisy neighbours and sworn enemies lifting the trophy.)

Taking immense pleasure in your neighbour's misfortune. Sound familiar?

Mind you, the Argentinians have also been exploiting Brazilian despondency to the max with a song called 'Brasil decime que se siente?' ringing out from every bar along the Copacabana.

Loosely translated, the song, to the tune of the old Credence Clearwater number Bad Moon Rising, taunts Brazilian fans about how awful it must be to have 'your daddy' in your house, being better, more successful than you.

Ultimately the Argentina got done, so you can't really blame the Brazilians for doing a bit of reverse crowing.

But now, it's over. So many memories, so much to look back on.

The last minute goals from Greece (my temporary team) that gave us hope when none seemed likely, the new friends we've made, the old ones we nearly lost.

(Des, my Aussie mate disappeared into the favelas of Belo Horizonte one night at the invitation of a girl called Thais only to reappear 48 hours later with no lasting memory other than a general feeling of enduring happiness. He thinks he might stay here awhile).

Great food, even greater booze - certainly in greater quantities - all combined to make this the long lasting memory I always hoped it would be.

And of course, there was the football. Great goals, attacking play (most of the time) and ultimately, I guess you'd have to concede, the best team winning.

Having said that, the atmosphere was the thing. And the laughs.

Never did the two come together better than in a conversation Koula had with a young Brazilian woman in the ladies' toilet in the fanzone prior to the Germany v Brazil semifinal.

Heavily pregnant, like seriously heavy, the woman proudly told Koula the reason she was so big - she was expecting twins.

Caught up in the amazing atmosphere of expectation, which as we know was sadly soon to dissipate - Koula told her in basic Portuguese how great it would have been had the babies come early in order to experience this incredible spectacle.

With a smile - and more than a hint of piss-take I suspect - the woman replied: 'Nao estou usando nenhuma calcinha de mulher portanto eles podem ouvir o que esta continuando'.

Which, more or less, translates as: 'I'm not wearing any knickers - so at least they can hear it!'

Obrigada Brazil, you've been great...

Contextual targeting label: 
Football

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

247305