RIO DE JANEIRO — FIFA director of security Ralf Mutschke said he was embarrassed by the breach by 90 Chilean fans, who stormed the media center at Maracana Statdium looking for access to the field, and vowed tighter security.
On Sunday, patrons and media visiting Maracana found out exactly what that meant.
Armed forces clad in riot gear lined the streets leading to Maracana and in some cases blocked unticketed or credentialed patrons from passing through. The media center, which was clearly the weakest entry point at the stadium, had armed security forces in front of its entry tents and then 20 more guards with batons inside it.
The walkway that leads to media seating is cordoned off with a bike rack and has several guards specifically there to stop media and patrons from intermingling.
If it sounds like it’s a lot, it is.
A one point a military caravan, with several armed and camouflage-wearing military personnel inside it, rolled through the main street in front of Maracana where Belgium fans had gathered. There appeared to be no real reason for it except to let fans know it was there.
Very little in the way of rowdy behavior was expected for Sunday’s match between Russia and Belgium. Unlike the South American crowds that were prevalent during the first two games at Maracana, the crowds seem to be a bit tamer and definitely smaller.
Still, FIFA, which has been under heavy scrutiny for a variety of things since the tournament began, is taking no more chances that the premier stadium of the 2014 World Cup is disgraced again.