First, the month before I had attended a match in Dublin - the national Irish team vs. the Scots. I thought they were patriotic and crazy with all the men walking around wearing kilts and the chants and just the amazing energy. However that is nothing in comparison to what I experienced in Rio.
Rather than simply buy a ticket to the game I went through a guy. Yes, I had a guy. Tangent - I would highly recommend Sergio and his services to anyone who goes to Rio and wants to see a soccer/Futbol match. He is extremely knowledgeable, ensures you get there and back safely, had amazing seats, and provides you with the true local Brazilian experience.
So what is the true local Brazilian experience? Well, it begins with a metro ride towards the stadium. However, you get off before the stadium since just like in Dublin you cannot drink in the stadium so everyone must pregame and get all of their drinking done prior to the start of the game. So instead of heading directly to the stadium we headed to the Flamengo fans party which happens several blocks prior to the stadium.
This is where the true spirit of the people is felt. The street is so thick with people you can barely walk. What I loved was energy, it was infectious. Everyone sang with the team songs and they had huge flags for the Flamengos. Men, women, and children got into the singing. Plus there was street food and plenty of beverages of all kinds. Sergio even handed out the words to the songs so we could join in if we wanted.
When we got to the stadium we made our way inside and it seems to not really matter where you sit. As long as you are cheering for the Flamengos. Due to that we had amazing seats and could see the whole field and really the whole stadium.
The game was amazing but to me it almost more entertaining to watch and enjoy the reactions of the Brazilians to the game. For one thing the drums never stopped the entire game and the huge flags never stopped flying. Every play provoked some sort of emotion whether disappointment or joy. Goals had strangers hugging strangers and bad plays had seat mates commiserating.
It was a fabulous evening that I would repeat again in a heartbeat and would encourage anyone going to Rio or other large cities in Brazil to take advantage of. If you are going to Rio I highly recommend you checking out Sergio's blog and go with him since you really get the true Brazilian experience vs. just the visitor experience.
I have become even more of a soccer/Futbol than I was before. Enjoy some of my pictures from that day.