Football Fever in Brazil

I am not a football fan. At all. The closest I’ve ever got to being interested in football was watching Alex play on Sunday mornings, but now I much prefer staying in bed till he gets home at noon πŸ˜‰

Alex, on the other hand, is football crazy. He teaches it every day in his job, he plays football every week, he even collects football stickers like the big kid he really is. So going to Brazil during the World Cup was completely his idea. Not mine. While he was looking forward to the World Cup like it was the most exciting thing in his life to ever happen, I was just looking forward to relaxing on the beach sipping a Caipirinha.

But with our friend Matt coming along for the trip too, I was completely outnumbered. As soon as the plane touched down in Rio, all I heard was football this and football that. I desperately needed a girl with me!

Football fans, I know you like/love/go mad over it, but for a girl who isn’t a football fan in the slightest, it was an awful lot for me to endure when I was in one of the greatest cities in the world and just wanted to see the sights! But, while I might have got completely fed up with football after a couple of days, the atmosphere was something that even I couldn’t help getting caught up in.

People were everywhere – singing and dancing as they walked down the street, chanting their country’s football song; spilling out of restaurants, cafes and bars, and anywhere they could find a TV. When the FIFA Fan Fest on Copacabana Beach was too full of excited football fans, people took to lining the streets and sitting on the side of the road, setting up camp along the fence and watching the big screen from the outside.

Decorations lined the streets with bunting and flags, all bright green and yellow, the colours of Brazil, which made you feel like part of the celebration no matter where you were from in the world. I decided to join in with the local festivities and got myself a Brazil shirt because clearly it was pointless getting an England shirt! πŸ˜‰

Street decorations in Santa Teresa

Street decorations in Santa Teresa

Street decorations in Rocinha favela

Street decorations in Rocinha favela

We spotted people playing football anywhere they could from the beaches to the favelas and even in the mountains on the Inca Trail in Peru! Alex has a knack of bringing people together, whether they all speak the same language or not, and I have to admit (very grudgingly!) that football was the perfect way to do it.

Playing football with the porters up in the mountains on the Inca Trail

Playing football with the porters up in the mountains on the Inca Trail

We were lucky enough to get tickets to see Spain v Chile at the Maracana Stadium and being there in the huge crowd of people all cheering and singing for their country, it was hard not to get caught up in the euphoric atmosphere.

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Can I pull off being an avid Brazilian supporter or does my blonde hair and completely fake shirt give it away?!

The FIFA Fan Fest on Copacabana Beach also had a brilliant atmosphere where watching a match on the hugeΒ screen with the sound of the commentators blaring out and the feel of the sand between your toes made it all the more exciting (and, yey, I found a girl!!).

There were fans from every possible nation you could imagine, brightening up the streets with flags and shirts of all different colours, all there just to have a good time and soak up the atmosphere, whether they had tickets to a game or not. Alex took it upon himself to try to get a photo with a fan from every country and he managed to get the majority of the countries in the group stages from the extremely popular Argentina to the slightly more obscure Iran.

And, while the boys were having fun, at least I got my wish of sitting on the beach with a Caipirinha in hand πŸ™‚

I have no idea what all these other people are doing on the beach ;)

What’s all that going on behind me? πŸ˜‰

 

20 thoughts on “Football Fever in Brazil

  1. HannahontheMap says:

    Your blonde hair makes you look like you’re from the south of Brazil! I’m jealous you got to go to a game and to fifa fan fest. I didn’t get in on any of the world cup action! of course now that Brazil is out, it’s a little bit sadder today 😦

    • Ayla says:

      I guess Brazilians all look very different so maybe I could have got away with it! Rio is obviously going to put on a good show! Did they have any fan fests or anything big where you were? I can only imagine how different the atmosphere must have been after they were knocked out 😦

  2. thegrownupgapyear says:

    Aw, looks like such an amazing experience. I’m not a huge football fan either but I went to see a local game in the Maracana stadium years ago and the atmosphere was crazy then, so I can only imagine what it was like for the World Cup! You look fab in all of the photos by the way xx

    • Ayla says:

      It was fun and there was no tension or anger at all (like the media makes out), it was all very joyful and happy. I have so many other flag photos with fans from all over the world it’s ridiculous!

  3. Taylor Hearts Travel says:

    I love the pic of you two – so cute! I’m not a football fan either, so I feel your pain. However, I watched a football game when I went to Brazil (years ago) and the atmosphere was amazing, so it must have been insane for your World Cup visit!

    • Ayla says:

      I’m so glad there are others who appreciate the atmosphere and not just the football! To be honest, even when England didn’t do well, it was still hard to take away the good moods from the boys because the atmosphere was just so fun!

  4. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) says:

    I never really watch premier league matches either but there’s something about international games and major stadiums that has a way of making you feel so involved in the atmosphere that it’s hard not to enjoy it!! So jealous that you got to see that game – was watching it at home and wishing we were there!! Must have been such a great vibe!

    • Ayla says:

      England just has a reputation for hooliganism which makes it horrible over here and I couldn’t think of anything worse than going to a game here! The South American countries were all just joyful and excited though which made the atmosphere so much better. It was brilliant!

  5. Packing my Suitcase says:

    WOW, such an amazing post about my country, Im happy you enjoyed it! Unfortunately I couldnt be in Brazil for the World Cup, but I really enjoyed reading many fun stories from people that got the chance to go πŸ˜€

    • Ayla says:

      Ahh shame you couldn’t be there, although if I lived there, I think I would have got so fed up of so many people (loud crazy people!) being around all the time! For a while it was lots of fun though πŸ™‚

  6. Brad Bernard says:

    What an amazing experience this must be. Seeing a football match in Brazil is definitely unforgettable to start with, much less the biggest football party in the world in a country that parties like no other.

    • Ayla says:

      It was a wonderful experience and I don’t even like football! You can’t help getting caught up in the atmosphere whether you’re a fan or not though. Definitely a trip to remember!

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