World Cup 2014 - Spurs fans in Brazil
17 June 2014|Tottenham Hotspur
A number of Spurs fans are in Brazil to enjoy the World Cup at close quarters – and they’re keeping us up to speed with their experiences at the showpiece tournament.
Sunday night’s match between Argentina and Bosnia-Herzegovina at the world-famous Maracana in Rio de Janeiro proved a popular attraction, with two of our terrace correspondents in attendance for Argentina’s 2-1 win.
Rob Ahlers, of Supporters’ Club Amsterdam Spurs, took in the game after arriving in Brazil in the early hours of Sunday morning, while our former Academy player and Spurs fan Destin Makumbu was also there to soak up the atmosphere and fulfil a personal ambition of watching a game at what he describes as ‘the greatest of all football stadia.’
Rob and Destin talk us through their experiences over the last few days...
Rob Ahlers (Amsterdam Spurs)
Well, it's been a very long and eventful first day in Brazil! We arrived at 5 o’clock on Sunday morning to the news that England had lost 2-1 to Italy. We got to our hire car in 23-degree heat and started the Brazilian motorway adventure. If you ever come to this area, don't be shocked by pedestrians or push bikes – they tend to stay in the inside lane. And farmers with their cows do their best to cross as quickly as they can.
We arrived in Teresopolis, a town dubbed "home of the squad", referring to the fact that the Brazilian squad reside and train there. The result is quite a buzz in the town, although the team had just left for their next game against Mexico on Tuesday evening.
After the Swiss game we headed off to Rio, a relatively easy ride to the newly-renovated Maracana. There is nothing recognisable left of the old Maracana. A heavy police presence and the great spirit of the most Argentinian fans were the other two immediate impressions. I think there must have been close to 50,000 Argentinians there, far outnumbering the Bosnians. Only the Brazilians could compete in that department and vocally, the three Spurs fans. You all saw the game so not much on that.
It was an unforgettable first day in Brazil, and I hope there are many more to come. It’s off to São Paulo on Wednesday for the Uruguay game. It's quite a long journey and there are at least two games to fit in on Wednesday, the day of the travelling. Both Holland and Spain are playing, though the Dutch game is obviously the one for us.
It’s been an entertaining and exciting weekend in Rio de Janeiro for us, both on and off the pitch. On Saturday we went to see the great Christ the Redeemer statue and although it was very busy, it was fantastic. You can see the entire city from up there, the view is spectacularly amazing.
After that we went to Sao Conrado to try out hang gliding, going past one of the biggest favelas in Rio en route. Unfortunately the wind was bad and there was no hang gliding, so that was disappointing.
Later that day, we watched the first half of the England v Italy match in a local restaurant in Leblon and the second half at the Fan Fest on Copacabana. We met two lifelong Spurs fans while we were there – Paul Maysey and Luke Griffiths, both from London – and they have got tickets for all matches at the Maracana Stadium up until the Last 16.
I expected a little bit more from England, but there were a few signs of promise here and there. It’s always disappointing when you lose your opening game, but Italy are the masters at defending and passed the ball well in midfield. The game against Uruguay is massive now, neither side can afford to lose.
Sunday was a mellow day, spent walking around central Rio, building up to our first game of the tournament in the evening. We took a taxi to the Maracana where we had tickets for Argentina against Bosnia, and watched the French comfortably beat Honduras at a local bar.
Then we walked to the stadium – which I think is the greatest of all football stadia. I have always wanted to watch a match there and it was a dream come true to do so. There were fans of all nations inside, not just from Argentina and Bosnia.
We all came to see the player who I believe is the second best in the world – Lionel Messi – and he did not disappoint, scoring a great individual goal in the second half. Bosnia didn’t attack much in the first period, allowing Argentina to stamp their authority but they came at them more in the second half and got a goal late on which briefly had Argentina worried.
Both sets of fans were absolutely amazing, singing throughout the game and all very friendly. It was loud and electric, a proper atmosphere and I’m glad to say I was there.
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