This afternoon, Germany just gave Brazil a 7-1 hiding in the 2014 World Cup semifinal. I can only imagine the anguish in Brazil right now – especially since I just had the chance to visit Brazil during the Group Stages.
So it’s a great moment to share a few of the great things I saw at the World Cup during my time in Curitiba, Brazil before the World Cup comes to a close.
Post-match Scarf Trading
I thought for sure I was about to see the 2014 World Cup go wrong. Nigeria and Iran had just battled to a goalless draw. The Arena de Baixada was starting to clear out. That’s when an Iran fan ran right up into the face of a group of Nigerians. But … it turns out he wanted to trade his Iran scarf for a Nigerian fan’s scarf. Everyone visibly relaxed, and all was well as they traded. Very cool!
Nationalism Without Antagonism
During the first week, only Iran, Nigeria, Ecuador and Honduras would play in Curitiba. But sure enough, I saw people in colors from the United States, Japan, Australia, Mexico and too many other nations to count. All the fans, though, were good about supporting their own teams without riling fans from other nations.
Four live matches, a heated televised Mexico-Brazil match at the FIFA FanFest, too many other televised matches at bars and restaurants to remember. And not a single fight. Nothing. Sure, a few stumbling fans who had a few too many beers. Still, I didn’t see a single punch thrown, not so much as a minor scuffle.
A World Cup-crazed Septuagenarian
I eavesdropped a bit at the FIFA FanFest when Brazil played Mexico. I overheard interviews with a woman in her 70s who gave her family the slip to attend 2014 World Cup festivities. I only understand a sliver of Portuguese, so I didn’t catch very many details. Why didn’t they just go with her? Bottom line, she was there, and the press was crazy about her – along with other fans who lined up to take photos with her.