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Jun 19

Watching Brazil vs Mexico

Casa-Alto-Vidigal

Casa Alto Vidigal is a hostel and bar sitting right at the top of the Vidigal favela.

 

Well, Brazil have played 2 games now and I think it’s fair to say that most people have been pretty underwhelmed. So far there have been no dominant displays and no goleadas – just a feeling that something isn’t quite clicking when the team get out on the field.

I have a few Mexican friends living here in Rio, and they had all decided to watch the game at Casa Alto Vidigal, a hostel/bar at the very top of Vidigal favela. The journey would normally take a little over an hour, so I gave myself a little over 2 hours and set off on my journey. Within minutes I received messages from other friends who were also trying to get to Vidigal – everyone was telling me that the traffic was the worst they’d ever seen in Rio.

As soon as I got off the metro in Ipanema (the mid-way point in my journey), I saw it myself: traffic crawling at a snail’s pace; dozens of people on every street corner, trying in vain to flag down taxis. After trying to pick up some kind of transport for 20 minutes, I decided I’d have to set off on foot. I walked for half an hour before eventually catching a heavily overcrowded bus and ended up arriving in Vidigal with 10 minutes of the first half remaining (it turns out I was in good company – Pelé himself missed the first half of the game in São Paulo due to bad traffic).

Casa-Alto-Vidigal

Even on a slightly hazy afternoon, the view from Casa Alto Vidigal is mesmerising. That is Ipanema beach you can see in the background.

 

When I finally reached Casa Alto Vidigal, I found the crowd around the big screen were divided – Mexicans on the right, Brazilians on the left. I diplomatically sat in the middle, but slightly to the left. The Mexican contingent were in fine voice and you could tell they fancied their chances of creating massive upset.

mexican-fans

The Mexican contingent looking pretty happy with itself!

 

I’m sure most of you either watched the game or heard what happened, so I won’t go into a blow-by-blow account, but what I will say is that this was a very frustrating night for the Brazilians. Brazil made plenty of chances and Mexico’s goalkeeper, Guillermo Ochoa, made some amazing saves. I think this video clip summarises the night quite well:

 

“…counter-attack!!!…. go! …yes…. yes… YES! …GO!!!! GO!!!! YES! YES! YES! …………………………..oh. 

Rather like a disappointing version of that scene from When Harry Met Sally.

 

Ah well, I think most people agreed that a draw was a fair result – sure Mexico’s keeper made some great saves, but Mexico had some good chances too. It was also interesting to observe the Brazilian reaction to the result. Mrs Eat Rio was very down in the dumps about the situation but received little sympathy from me – most England supporters would view a win and a draw as being a dream start to the competition!

Who knows? Sometimes teams start slowly and then improve as the tournament progresses. I really hope that Brazil raise their game because on current evidence they’d have little chance against Holland or Germany.

As for England, I’ll be crossing my fingers that they don’t follow Spain’s example of saying adiós to the dream of World Cup glory in the shortest possible time…

Casa-Alto-Vidigal

Vidigal after dark. Another of Rio’s spectacular views that will act as consolation for fans of eliminated teams.

 

 

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6 comments

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  1. The Gritty Poet

    Bummer, I was actually rooting for England to go thru. At least either Italy or Uruguay will be eliminated after the Costa Rica victory today (gesticulations will be highly reduced with one of these going home). Shame about England though: those two youngsters in front deserved better (one suffered an unmarked penalty in my estimation).

    1. tomlemes

      Next time round maybe (but realistically speaking, probably not…). Hopefully this unexpected disaster will prompt the people who know best to reassess England’s training, tactics, youth development strategy and so on. I’m really pleased for Costa Rica though – they’ve played really well and showed us a thing or two about how to play as a team.

      1. The Gritty Poet

        I´m going in for some major honor points: below my official predictions for the remainder of the World Cup (notice that at this moment only 6 teams out of 10 have qualified for round 16).
        http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/06/19/upshot/world-cup-2014-how-teams-can-advance-to-the-next-round.html?hp&_r=0

        Round of 16:
        Brazil beats Chile.
        Italy sends Colombia home..
        Costa Rica advances vs Ivory Coast
        Holland beats Croatia.
        Switzerland upsets Argentina.
        France wins over Nigeria.
        Germany beats Algeria
        Belgium advances against the USA.

        Quarter Finals:
        Brazil beats Italy
        Holland victorious over Costa Rica
        Germany defeats France
        Belgium defeats Switzerland

        Semi Finals:
        Germany wins against Brazil
        Holland defeats Belgium

        Third Place
        Brazil beats Belgium

        Final
        Germany triumphs over Holland.

        Final standing.
        1. Germany
        2. Holland
        3. Brazil
        4. Belgium

        FIFA Best Player: Robben
        Top Scorer: Neymar

        1. tomlemes

          Solid predictions there Gritty. My heart is pushing me to predict that Colombia would upset Italy, but my head is saying “don’t put any money (or honour points) on it…”

  2. Christopher Wright

    Brazil seem over reliant on Neymar and to a lesser extent Thiago Silva in defence. Mexico played aome good football.

    England played well against Italy but were very limited against Uruguay. Same old same old. :(

    1. tomlemes

      True – Brazil need to seriously pick up their game or they’ll be heading for a swift exit when they meet some decent opposition in the knock-out phase. Sometimes I think starting slowly can be good – peak in time for the latter stages of the tournament. Perhaps England took this idea a little too far? ;)

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