Dirty Tackle's Ryan Bailey is in Rio de Janeiro covering the 2014 World Cup for Yahoo Sports. In this diary, he will share his experiences of Brazil, his thoughts on the games and his overt humblebrags...
There are some moments that will forever in the memory. Graduation. The birth of a first child. Seeing a dog on Copacabana Beach wearing a hilarious wig. Today, I was fortunate enough to experience one of these things.
In order to get the best possible viewing experience of Brazil's opening World Cup match with Croatia, the Yahoo Sports team headed to the official FIFA Fan Fest located on Copacabana Beach. It's essentially a free festival where supporters from all around the world can watch World Cup matches while enjoying over-priced delicious FIFA-approved snacks and beverages.
To say it was bustling was somewhat of an understatement — over 1.5 million people showed up.
Apparently, a Brazil national team game is treated as a national holiday, so everybody who hadn't taken the day off poured out of their places of business at around midday to find a spot to watch the action, which kicked off at 5pm local time. By the time the game started, the streets were completely empty, while bars and beaches were packed.
Above is the reaction to Neymar's opening goal, which broke the slightly subdued mood caused by Marcelo's own goal, and Croatia's general suppression of the Selecao's constant advances.
An incredibly heavy police presence and blockade stopped protestors from getting anywhere near the Fan Fest, but there was a feeling of dissent among the fans present. Whenever Sepp Blatter and Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff appeared on the screen, they were loudly jeered. A group of fans also managed to smuggle in an anti-FIFA banner, which the organizers accidentally displayed on the big screen at half time. Whoops.
"F*CK FIFA" banner in the fan zone. They've even shown it on the big screen! pic.twitter.com/akvpXMnLY6
— Ryan Bailey (@RyanJayBailey) June 12, 2014
Naughty banners aside, the Fan Fest was a hub for fans from all over the world. I met crazy Dutch people who had imbibed too much Brahma, Argentineans who were very happy to tease the locals and a Colombian woman who watched the whole game wearing nothing but a thong and body paint. Sorry, there's no family-friendly way of showing that last one.
My favorite fan, however, was this guy...
Or maybe it was the melon heads...
That's it for today, I'll leave you with some interesting facts about the reason 31 of the best teams and Australia are in this tournament — the World Cup trophy.
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