BY KURT WEBER
We are at Salvador’s most famous beach, Praia do Farol da Barra, inside the FIFA Fan Zone. The chanting of “My Doorbell” by the White Stripes is echoing from the bar as we walk up from the beach – hoping to catch the Netherlands vs. Australia game.
Bright orange jerseys permeate the outdoor sports bar, peppered by the yellow jerseys of the hopeful Australian fans. The Dutch, in their distinctive orange, choose to hum the White Stripes for their rally cry – a curious selection given the White Stripes are as American as they come – hailing from Detroit.
Watching the game, both sets of fans are a bit overzealous, trash talking the other teams fans. The owner chooses to seat our group of eight Americans and another group of six American fans, between the cacophony of orange and yellow jerseys, in an obvious attempt to keep the tension at bay. For one day, we are Switzerland.
The two teams trade goals and the game is surprisingly close, given the Dutch are heavy favorites. But, the Dutch finally pull away from the Aussies and win 3-2, advancing to the next round. The awkward Dutch samba around the bar that follows the victory can only be described as worthy of an SNL skit.
Later, we head to a local bar in Old Town to watch Spain, the reigning champs, handily removed from advancing to the next round by Chile. I then ask the British owner of the local bar about England’s performance at the World Cup. He remarks, “To be honest, I’m so gutted by the loss to the Italians.”