Sunday, April 25, 2010

First Futbol Game ..... GOL!

Quick impressions..... wow .....50,461 people in a stadium that holds 55,000 in a residential neighborhood with streets going in every direction imaginable. The poor people who live nearby has to put up with boisterous people partying pre-game (no alcohol inside the stadium so people sell beer from coolers or alcohol from the back of pick-up trucks pre and post game), plus the street vendors selling food and souvenirs and people parking on any street remotely close by.  And this was a 9:30 pm game! We were lucky in that one person in our party of 10 had a membership and was able to park in a special space at the stadium and our driver dropped us off (the joys of having a driver!).

It's a sea of people making their way to their assigned stadium gate. Many drink outside until close to game time. We quickly drank our beers (Skol - pretty bad beer) and made our way inside.
Although our tickets have seat numbers printed, there is no assigned seating ... that is, the seating doesn't matter. It's first-come, first-serve. We were sitting in the blue section, which goes from the goal to the center of the field. We arrived about 45 minutes early to secure decent seats and ended up near the goal. The game was the Sao Paulo Libertadores against Colombia's Once Caldas. It was a critical game for Sao Paulo because they had to win to stay in the race for the World Cup.

Because the opposing team was from another country, 99.99% of the attendees were rooting for Sao Paulo. This was the section assigned for Colombia and it was pretty deserted.

In contrast, here's the section where the fanatics sat (one level above us and to the left). This section cheered throughout (lots of singing with a drum beating in the background, stomping, and jumping up and down) and it looked like many were standing the entire time. After Sao Paulo scored, there were a few sparkler-type fireworks going off in the section. Quite a fun section.
The game was rather boring since both teams played terribly. I don't know much about soccer, but I know enough about how it's important to set up shots in hockey and to pass to open basketball players to know that the home team did not do either well. But somehow they did score a GOL! in the first half. The game ended 1-0.

We made our way to the streets with the hoards of people and were able to get out pretty easily and were home by 12:15 am. I'm glad to have had the opportunity to experience futbol in Sao Paulo!

No comments: