Day at the Maracana Stadium

Trip Start Jun 11, 2008
Trip End May 14, 2009

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Where I stayed
Jangadeiros Apartment

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

We had a walk around the Hippie Market this morning. No, it wasn't a load of market stalls selling Hippie's...although that would have been, this was more of an artists and souvenier sellers market. It was pretty good and we managed to bag a few gifts for the folks back home. It is only on on Sunday's and is well worth the visit.

At around 12.30, I went to get the bus to the Maracana Stadium whilst Lorna headed down to the beach with Louise. I found out that I had got the match scenario a little wrong. This was the cup final between Botafogo and Flamengo, but this was the first leg not the second. Still should be great though and they are still expecting around 70,000 fans there.

On route to the stadium, we had to pick up a few others and so got to get a little tour of the city. We got some great views all along Ipanema beach, went by Flamengo's home stadium which was looking a little crusty to say the least (not as crusty as my underpants are after 11 months of traveling, but crusty nonetheless). I can see why they are playing this match at the Maracana though. We then went past Fluminese's stadium as well - this was even crustier....almost to the level of Phil's underpants!
Next we went along the main street where the Rio carnival performs. This street is huge and you can only imagine the amount of people that would be here.

Then we arrived at the Maracana. This stadium once held over 200,000 people for the 1950 World Cup final (which Brazil lost to Uruguay), but today it is now just an 86,000 all seater stadium. We got into the stadium about 90 minutes before kick off (which was planned for 16:00) and it was already an amazing atmosphere. It turns out that the attendance today was in the region of 70,000 and the noise was unbelievable. There were about 20,000 Botafogo fans and around 50,000 Flamengo fans.
I had decided to support Flamengo for one major reason - Botafogo play in black & white stripes! Being as Derby scum play in black & white and Notts County play in black & white stripes, there was no way I could support these tramps!

The seat I had was brilliant, right on the half way line and in the sun. Got myself a little burnt bald patch for my troubles! Then came the kick in the guts moment. As the drinks seller approached me at my seat, I produced my cash and requested a beer. As he was passing me the drink he mentioned "you realise that it is alcohol free beer don't you?"!........................
After just staring at him for around 5 minutes in complete silence he obviously realized I was going into some sort of dribbling coma!! Apparently, they don't sell alcohol inside the stadium!!! I ended up having to suck the alcohol stains out of my unwashed t-shirt that had remained from last night!! Where there's a will....

Anyway, it was then time for kick off. The whole stadium was rocking and vibrating with all the singing and jumping that was going on. It's not just one section that sings in this place, it's the whole stadium!! It's an amazing atmosphere and brings you out in goose pimples! Everywhere you looked there were banners, flags, flares, scarves - brilliant.

As for the match. Flamengo got the first goal with the world's dodgiest penalty...I thought I was at Old Trafford. The defender just looked at the striker funny and he went down like a sack of sh*t!! Very harsh. Anyway, Flamengo's number 7 'Juan' scored from the spot and it was 1-0. However, 10 minutes before half time, Botafogo bagged 2 goals in 2 minutes to take a 2-1 lead! This was a major surprise, but certainly made a game of it.
In the 2nd half it was just end to end attacking - there was no defensive play at all. It was like watching a basketball match...except they couldn't handle the ball....and the nets were bigger....and it was on grass...and it was only one point for a goal....OK, it was nothing like a basketball match then!!!
It looked like Botafogo were going to hang on until, with only 5 minutes left, Flamengo equalised! The stadium just exploded and all the Flamengo fans just went ballistic! It was absolutely bedlam inside the ground. It was fantastic.
I am sure the fans started chanting a song to the tune of "I'm the happiest Christmas tree....ho ho ho....he he he".........You are now going to tell me that you have never heard that song aren't you?....Bugger!

Moving on.....

After the match, I got back to the apartment around 7.30pm and as none of us could be bothered to cook, we reduced ourselves to the degrading prospect of getting a Domino's pizza!! I know it's sad, but we really couldn't be bohered to cook or go out tonight!

Can't believe we are going home tomorrow. We packed our bags tonight ready for the trip. Suddenly it just seems to have gone too fast!
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