Tag Archives: maracana

A farewell to Maracanã

Today we headed to our third and final match at the iconic Maracana stadium to watch Belgium play Russia.

While I didn’t really have a dog in this fight as Professor Hamakawa would say, it was still another amazing opportunity in Maracana. While sitting in the stands we were surrounded by Belgian fans and one offered to paint my face with their flag, so of course I had to say yes! 20140622-210946-76186903.jpg
With their flag on my face I quickly caught Belgian fever (if that’s a thing). Most of the game went scoreless until the 85th minute when Belgium scored and won 1-0!! I got high gives from Belgians all around me and they embraced me as their own!

It was a great way to say goodbye see you later to Estadio do Maracanã!

On our way home from the match we stopped at a giant festival celebrating Brazilian culture. We had more delicious Brazilian food, heard Brazilian music and saw a little Brazilian dancing!

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We finished off the day by watching the US vs Portugal game back in our hotel where we hoped to see the US secure a spot in the round of 16 with a win over Ronaldo and his Portugal squad. Admittedly, I did not have much faith in the US to get past Portugal, and they almost proved me wrong. The match was back and forth with the US and Portugal trading goals. Then Clint Dempsey put the US ahead 2-1 and the clock was winding down. The ref added 5 minutes of stoppage time and at about 44:30 it looked like the US was about to pull out the upset. Then Ronaldo got the ball and he did what he has done time after time, made a great play. With one of the most beautiful crosses I’ve ever seen he set up his teammate for a goal as time expired. It was deflating for US fans but at the same time, nobody can deny the perfection of that pass. It’s not called the group of death for nothing…

Tomorrow is our last full day in Rio, and I have to stop typing their so my tears don’t damage my keyboard.

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Bem-vindo ao Rio de Janeiro

So my first official day in Rio has come to and end and I can say the bar has been set extremely high! Even if this was my only day here I would be happy, fortunately I still have many more. In just my first day here I’ve had the experience of a life time!

It all started with the drive from the airport. The first thing that was very evident was the vast gap between the classes. If you think there is a wealth gap in the US, you haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen Rio. One minute we are looking at brand new stadiums and state of the art residential and business buildings and right next door are the favelas barely standing on their own. Can’t wait to explore this a little more!

Then came the moment I’ve dreamt about; watching Lionel Messi lead Argentina in their match against Bosnia-Herzegovina. Not only did I get to watch my favorite athlete in the world play I got to do it in the LEGENDARY Maracana Stadium, the temple of soccer. I am still in disbelief that I was able to watch it and be so close to the pitch!

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Other than the fact that Argentina won 2-1, I got to see Messi score a goal in true Messi fashion, by making it look easy! At times I felt I could touch him he was so close, just look!

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In tonight’s excitement I hugged strangers, jumped up and down with them and sang songs I didn’t even know the words to. Regardless of whether the people around me tonight were Hispanic, Brazilian or Bosnian, tonight’s only language was football. One day in and my dream has come true, can’t wait to see what’s in store from here on out!