After a very relaxing 6 hour coach journey to Sao Paulo from Rio – better than my single bed in Rio but not as nice as the double bed in Belo Horizonte… we got caught outside the 5km cordon around the stadium. The local Police would not let us in. This is the part of the World Cup that no one gets to see. Carrying 50KG of gear we then had to walk to the nearest Metro station, paid 80p and went one stop to the stadium station. Upon exiting it, the stadium was in front of us. However, and a big however, instead of the nice 200m walk to the stadium, we had to go another 1KM around the back of the stadium, down lots of steps, up lots of steps and back down some steps, through a garden, past a car park, along a bit of newly concreted pavement and eventually back on the road. Another ten minutes of my life wasted!
The usual routine continued. Match collection ticket – I positioned myself to do The Netherlands attack in seat 228 to the right of the goal.
The next two hours were spent doing office work, dumping images onto back up hard drives and then trying to follow the fortunes of my team back home. It’s never nice to hear ‘fans’ slaughter personal friends who happen to be footballers. Social Media has a lot to answer for sometimes.
On to the game – Baggy Bird found a great position to watch the match from :
Now sometimes I quite literally go into a game not giving one hoot in what will happen where as other games I have a list as long as my arm for things to look out for. For today’s encounter, all I set myself to get were some nice portrait images of Louis Van Gaal. Whatever else happened was a bonus.
I am already excited about going to Old Trafford next season. I love LVG. My first experience of European football was following his Ajax team of 1995 who won the UEFA Champions League in Roma. To round it all off, I was lucky enough to spend one of the most wonderful weeks of my life when I followed Ajax competing in the Toyota Cup in Tokyo, Japan.
I find covering training sessions as nothing but a bore. But I still claim today, some 19 years later that the only time I wanted to throw my cameras to the floor and join in was when I was with Louis at Ajax.
I cherish those memories – but for everything wonderful, there is something not so wonderful. For every amazing day in Belo Horizonte, I spend 3 boring days in Rio. For every thrilling match that makes me feel lucky in what I do, I have to endure about 22 not so thrilling matches.
Today’s game on the excitement indicator on the scale of 0-10, rated at about 1.
The first half was shocking. The second was not that better. The English-speaking people here, the Japanese and even some Brazilians all rated it the worst match to photograph at this World Cup so far.
It may have looked good on TV.. I don’t know.
How can a dozen of seemingly the world’s best football photographers come away with quite literally no action pictures? Well just because it is the FIFA World Cup, just because it is the mighty Netherlands playing the seemingly exciting Chile, set in an inspiring stadium in Sao Paulo, the home of the famous Corinthians – it is still 11 men v 11 men. You can only shoot what is in front of you!
Although there were a few feature-style pictures to be had, the standard two men battling for the ball which is our bread and butter was not to be found. No emotion, no energy, just two teams who had already qualified going through the motions.
During the latter stages of the game, down the other end, The Dutch scored.
My nice little picture from this game though meant nothing as the Orange Mob scored a second – again at the other end and I had absolutely nothing to show for it!
Today’s game was everything but an editorial shoot – but that’s no problem as I love doing feature photography. It was just that the game didn’t enthuse us. All the time, the money, the lack of sleep, eating the bad food we weren’t rewarded for our endeavours.
Even if this game had have been a 6-7 epic and I had of got all the goals, celebrations, greatest feature pictures ever – I would have still had to have started all over again tomorrow.
Things could be worse, we hear of more photographers who have had their cameras stolen from World Cup matches. I still have my equipment and I got some OK pictures, so I should not really care that the game was very poor today!
Someone said that today was the half way stage of the FIFA Brazil 2014 World Cup. Two weeks to go and it will all be over!