Ok, so it wasn’t the most blistering of performances from the world’s most glamorous football team. A two-one victory against ultra low-ranking North Korea is hardly what Brazil’s legions of fans were hoping for, but it was a victory nonetheless, and therefore cause for celebration.
While the FIFA World Cup officially started almost a week ago, from a Brazilian perspective it didn’t really get underway until the country’s first game on Tuesday. Never ones to do things by halves, Rio’s football crazy residents made the afternoon of the game a virtual public holiday, with most of the city’s businesses – including banks and government offices – shutting up shop early.
The streets were a riot of green, blue and yellow, and the deafening sound of supporters’ horns could be heard across the city.
Copacabana Beach, which boasts an enormous TV screen as part of the 2010 FIFA Fan Fest, was packed to bursting point, while, elsewhere, supporters spilled out from bars and onto the streets as the world and his wife craned to get a better view of the footballing action being shown on screen.
Even my unassuming local bar, normally a television-free zone, somehow managed to aquire a giant LCD TV, to which the locals flocked like bees to a particularly alluring honey pot.
When the next match, against the Ivory Coast, kicks off on Sunday at 3.30pm, the pressure on the team to up their game will be immense. With a less than illuminating opening game behind them, nothing short of an out an out goal-fest (with the goals all coming from Brazil, of course) is likely to impress Brazil’s rabid supporters. And with arch rivals Argentina romping home to two successive, and highly convincing, victories.
Photo: Fans outside a bar in Santa Teresa, courtesy of Lucy Bryson