Bom Dia from Maracana Stadium, day before The Big Game!
Brazil plays Netherlands today at 4 p.m. Eastern in the Pride Match.
Meanwhile, here at Maracana, Shakira and Wyclef Jean appeared at a press conference to discuss the tactics of tomorrow's Closing Ceremonies...
These are some of the sights I saw from the bus on the way to the stadium. I am not a fan of graffiti, but I have to admit, Brazilians have taken it to an artform. Every city I have visited, I have seen hundreds of murals like these...
Found these Argentine fans, who came 37 hours in a taxi from Buenos Aires to Rio (one of the guys owns the taxi) and they don't even have tickets!! They were pumped to arrive in front of Maracana Stadium. Two of the guys said their girlfriends gave them permission to come on the condition that if Argentina wins, they will get married. Writing more about them, and the scene here in Rio before the Argentina-Germany final for Sunday Miami Herald.
Diary of a World Cup sportswriter: Wake up in Belo Horizonte, write a story about the mood of Brazil day after 7-1 humiliation, then head to airport for 12th flight of the tournament. I should sign up for GOL/TAM frequent flier plans! Land in Rio, check in to a hotel called Rio's Nice Hotel, which is Not-So-Nice. Checked Trip Advisor and all reviews mentioned same "highlights'': the staff is very friendly, and there's a grocery across the street (Both true!). It's a low-budget hotel that is old, dingy, nowhere near the pretty beaches, only light in room is a light bulb on ceiling, only plug in the room is the one the tiny fridge is plugged into, so to use computer had to disconnect fridge and move little desk over. No drawers. Tiny twin bed. The safe is old and rusty and uses a giant block key thing that is tough to figure out. The safe is also on top shelf of the closet, so I had to pull chair over and stand on it to open and close the safe. Ventured across street to eat alone at a restaurant, which was fairly good. I asked for a small "vino tinto'' and they brought me a shot glass with wine in it. At one point, a guy walked in selling stuffed-animal pigs. I don't know why. Nobody bought one. Back in hotel now, watching Portuguese re-run of Argentina-Holland.
30 Days Down, 5 to Go!! Ole-Ole-Ola!
Three hours before kickoff: Brazil vs. Germany
Beautiful afternoon. Bright sun. Not too hot.
Local sports paper Lance! featured a mask of Neymar, with cutout eyes, and caption: Today, We are All Neymar.
Injury of the Brazilian poster boy is a huge story here. Tens of thousands of fans expected in Neymar No. 10 jerseys.
Meanwhile, Germany is tired of losing in the semis...
Should be fun!
Where are you watching??
This is what the music sounds like in Brazil...
Swiss fans have a home away from home in Rio during the World Cup, and fans of every team (as well as locals) have been stopping by the Baixo Suica, a Swiss Fan Zone erected on the bank of the picturesque Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon in the center of the city. Took a bike ride over there Sunday morning, just in time to catch the end of the Roger Federer vs. Novak Djokovic Wimbledon final match, which was showing on a jumbo screen. Swiss fans were hoping for a Federer win, but it was not to be.
The Swiss fan zone is decorated with Swiss flags, cows, skis, and watches. They serve a full menu of Swiss food, and there is a samba band playing Brazilian music. Check it out...
Apparently, these Brazilians have not heard the news that Neymar is out for the rest of the tournament with a back injury...
German fans far outnumber French at Maracana, and they were partying hours before the match!