48. The Semi-Finals Await…

It’s time for another two-day break, and a chance to catch your breath before the semi-finals.
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After Friday saw the first semi-final decided, with hosts Brazil taking on the ever-consistent Germans, yesterday was the turn of Argentina and Holland to set up the other mouth-watering Euro-American last four.
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A meeting of minds…

It was a day of mixed feelings for me, as I was heading to possibly my last game of the tournament, and definitely the final one here in Salvador.

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45. World Cup Live Match Report V: USA vs Belgium…

A gorgeous, sunny day; an old friend visiting from NYC who happened to show up for a USA match; another old friend racing back to see her country play; and yet another old friend back from his travels, all to be reunited in the gorgeous, gleaming Salvador stadium.

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Back where I belong…

Another friend didn’t have a ticket, but details like this didn’t seem to matter on this magical day: walking to the stadium three hours early to soak up the atmosphere, (and the Continue reading

41. World Cup Day Who Even Knows Anymore…

Finally, a final round of games which produced some excitement!

The late kick-offs were mildly tense, although sadly I was stuck watching the wrong match, The Red Devils of Belgium yet again proving to be horribly tedious, yet winning by a single goal, this time down to ten men against a South Korea side who proved to be even more dismal. Belgium next take on the USA, and will have to show a lot more devilry if they are to go any further in the tournament.

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The boys will have been wearing these jacket-jerseys with pride tonight…

That meant I was missing the Russia vs Algeria game, which saw Continue reading

36. World Cup Day 12: a dozen down…

The storm I woke up to this morning continued all day and into the evening, keeping people off the streets and realising how little there is to do in Salvador when the weather sucks.

I therefore got to know my apartment very well today, finally making a list of which Panini stickers I need to complete my collection, (166 to go, in case you were wondering), and watching today’s three matches on the small screen.

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Panini 2014: 473 down, 166 to go…

The 1pm game may have been the worst of the tournament so far, as ‘dark horsesBelgium, (should that be ‘red horses’?), put paid to the theory I made up tha Continue reading

35: World Cup Day 11: Messi, Messi, Messi…

It is Sunday morning, and it sounds like there is a hurricane blowing outside my window.

After staying out until 5am to celebrate the national holiday of São João in the least traditional way possible,  (joining some local friends at a live rock venue, instead of gyrating the night away to a farró band), this is not ideal.

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A morning view of stormy Salvador…

At least it allows me to lie in the warmth of my bed and report on yesterday’s footballing adventures.

The festival of Saint John, (whose saint’s day is Continue reading

34. World Cup Live Match Report pt.III: France vs Switzerland…

Seventeen goals.

That is how many have been scored in Salvador’s Arena Fonte Nova stadium in the first three games of the 2014 World Cup, three of the best games I have seen in three decades of football-watching.

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Germany 5 (and a half), Switzerland 2…

After three games in Cape Town in 2010, I had seen two goals, and three of the worst games I had ever seen.

I hereby declare this World Cup the best ever. More or less.

The day began with Continue reading

31. World Cup Day 6: Draws, Dives and Disappointment (for Brazil)…

The rain which hammered down all morning here both woke me up and kept me indoors, meaning I had time to completely organise both my photos,  and my Panini sticker collection.

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Brazilian weather is…unpredictable…

In case you’re wondering, I need 173 stickers, and have already Continue reading