33. World Cup Day 8: England’s inevitable capitulation…

The first day of the second week of the World Cup began in incredible style for me when I received a message from a journalist back in Portugal who, I had forgotten, had interviewed me by email and then written a massive and flattering article for maisfutebol, one of the biggest websites in Portugal, about my love of Benfica and my passion for following World Cups across the globe.

Anyone who wants to practice their Portuguese, or enjoy a couple of pictures of me, can see the full article here.

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Spreading Benfica around the world since 2013…even to the enemy!

To jump forward to the end of the day: after England were all-but mathematically eliminated from the World Cup by a double from England-based ‘craque‘ (as a star player is called here in Brazil), Luis Suarez, a friend emailed me to ask if I was sad that they had lost.

The answer was: no. I was expecting it for so long, and it happened with far less pain than usual, (no false hopes, no penalty shoot-out losses), that I had all but forgotten it by the time I was in Salvador’s historic centre later that evening, watching Japan struggle to a terrible 0-0 draw against 10-man Greece.

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My viewing companions for the Japan game: two real 日本人 and two honourary…

Uruguay had managed to get past England despite having Benfica star defender Maxi Pereira suspended, captain Diego Lugano injured and, most seriously of all, a distinct lack of dulce de leche (South American caramel) after their stash of it was refused entry into Brazil.

It was Premier League player of the year Suarez who netted either side of Wayne Rooney’s first ever World Cup goal, but that probably won’t be much consolation to him. Even Rihanna knew who the dangerman was, if our defence didn’t. Maybe we could naturalise her and have her play centreback?

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Three weeks in, and I finally claim my first England jerseyed-fan: Will…

Earlier in the day, Colombia had won a cracking match beating African hopefuls Ivory Coast 2-1, a late Gervinho golazo not being enough to keep the South Americans from booking their place in the next round already after two impressive victories.

These guys must have been very happy last night...

These guys must have been very happy last night…

My evening ended…strangely. Today was a national holiday, (Corpus Christi day, apparently), although unlike days when Brazil are playing none of the shops seemed to be closed for it. Instead in the Pelourinho, (Salvador’s famous, and famously sketchy, historic centre), there was a late-night festival.

From 7pm when I arrived with a co-worker from Japan I hadn’t seen in four years, the streets were heaving with locals and a selection of ‘gringos‘, (mainly French and Swiss here for tomorrow’s match). There was a huge stage set up for a concert at 9pm, but by the time I had somehow managed to meet one friend, and completely failed to meet another, you could barely move in the streets.

This was the quietest, calmest side street, three hours before the evening started...

This was the quietest, calmest side street, three hours before the evening started…

People tried to either get nearer to the stage, or away from it if they had any interest in breathing freely, and all the while hands were everywhere, forcing themselves into your pockets and trying to make your life easier by relieving you of any heavy objects which may be weighing you down, like a phone or a wallet. I felt bad that all I had to offer was a packet of peanuts.

Never have I felt so violated.

A soothing picture of kids playing footie on the beach to take my mind off the evening...

A soothing picture of kids playing footie on the beach to take my mind off the evening…

Eventually, we popped out by a police checkpoint, where several people were laying unconscious or receiving medical attention. My friends estimated there to be around 50,000 people in the crowd, and seemed surprised that I decided to fight for a taxi home rather than risk another lap. It turns out that I enjoy breathing more than I enjoy people trying to rob me in massive crowds.

It’s good to learn new things about yourself.

France vs Switzerland awaits...

France vs Switzerland awaits…

Tomorrow, as I’ve mentioned, is Match Day 3 here in Salvador, and like Cinderella, I don’t have a thing to wear! I am supporting neither France nor Switzerland, (although I will probably root for France, since a) I did live there after all, b) I can cheer/swear better in French than in German, c) they play more interesting football then Switzerland generally, and maybe most importantly, d) they have the cooler jersey).

I guess I will go for a neutral shirt, maybe South African or my newly acquired Germany jersey.

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My latest jersey acquisition…

 

How is everyone out there enjoying the World Cup? Send me your thoughts and comments!

 

 

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19 thoughts on “33. World Cup Day 8: England’s inevitable capitulation…

  1. Wonderful says:

    “I can cheer/swear better in French than in German” =)…(good point) I just can do it in French!! See you later!

  2. Fredski says:

    Love WC along with much of Seattle! As for the rest of America, 80% don’t even know what WC is. They don’t know what they’re missing. HA!

    “…picture of kids playing footie on the beach…”, is that all trash behind them?!?! UGH! What a way to spoil an otherwise beautiful beach.

    • Yeah, the locals (and who knows, maybe the tourists), don’t do too much to keep places clean around here…maybe they’re just providing work to keep the cleaners in a job?

  3. hi friend! ive been reading your blog daily and it makes me look forward to my time in salvador that will start next monday! This is being the geatest world cup so far and im watching all the games ! Hope to see u there! abraco

    • I have my money on a close USA win, (not literally: I didn’t get around to making ANY bets, actually!).

      And anything will be better than Belgium vs Russia right now, which is pretty bad…

      • RUS vs BEL was the worst game ever eheheheh. EUA vs EUA game just ended. Pretty sad actually that Portugal still has a chance but will not make it for sure, and don’t even deserve any chance at all. USA was better, way better.

      • Well, I was 30seconds from being right!! Bloody Ronaldo…They don’t really deserve anything, but with this group and this cup, you never know – they could still top the group i think!!

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