BY FRANCISCO CHATEAUBRIAND
After flying all night, my son Xandre and I arrived in Rio on Father’s Day morning and were met at the airport by my father who lives in the city. An excellent Father’s day gift for all of us.
After a short nap and some lunch we made our way to Maracana to see our first World Cup game. For all of our excitement, we were struck by the lack of any fan experience outside the stadium. No booths or kiosks, no street musicians or supporters gathering to chant and sing. The most “spontaneous” expressions of excitement came from fans staging antics for the multitudes of TV cameras.
However, once you enter Maracana, there is no escaping the absolutely electric atmosphere. Even for a match that contained very few exciting moments, there was never a moment in which the stadium was anything close to quiet.
The Argentinian fans, who made up a majority of the crowd, were rabid, creating a giant wall of continuous sound that rarely ebbed. Each time Lionel Messi made a move toward goal you heard the slapping sound of 50,000 seats as fans rose in anticipation of a goal.
They were finally rewarded with a moment of brilliance in the second half that contained more collective passion, urgency and joy than anything sporting event we’ve ever witnessed. It’s that unbridled emotion that we’ve waited to experience firsthand.