Football (actually)

Yesterday, a few friends invited a couple of us guys to a local soccer (it’s football – you play it with your feet) game. There are four major teams in Rio:

  • Fluminense
  • Botafogo
  • Flamengo
  • Vasco da Gama

We went to see Flamengo and Vasco da Gama play yesterday. The game was held in Maracanã Stadium, the site of this year’s World Cup finals in July. It was hectic. Flamengo and Vasco are huge rivals. They actually separated the entrances and seating for fans of each team. The game started off slow, but it was entertaining nonetheless, because we were right next to the fan club seating section, Flamengo side. Chants all game. I heard that Flamengo has the rowdiest fan section of any team in the league. My favorite chant was one belittling the other team. It was something like “Ao ao ao, segunda divisão!” which means second division, because Vasco got bumped down last year.

Here’s a picture of the stadium:

Image

Courtesy of Mohamed.

The game started to pick up right before the half when Vasco scored a goal. I felt the morale drop on our side. But that goal was quickly followed up on with a goal by Flamengo in the second half. Honestly, it was a questionable one. So then the game got interesting. Vasco actually had this, which the referee’s didn’t count. The other side was going crazy. Tension high, the score stayed 1-1 until 4 minutes left when Flamengo’s injury sub, Gabriel scored a beautiful goal.

Here‘s a recap of the game, in Portuguese of course.

So we left, Flamengo won, and all the people we were with sang their way to the metro. Great start to my experience of soccer in Brazil. We had an awesome time, and the team I was rooting for won. I just hope the refs are okay – they had to be escorted off the field by a dozen armed policemen… the Vasco fans were reeeallly upset.

Image

Mohamed and I.

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