What a difference 24 hours makes!
A nice soup, pasta and then five hours sleep before waking up at 4am and then experiencing another Ayrton Senna type taxi ride past people queuing to go into night clubs – the night is still young in Rio at 0430h.
Wonderful TAM Airlines transport to Brasilia – it’s just a shame they could not operate more flights at better logistical times during this FIFA World Cup Festival.
It’s another Saturday and it’s my first trip to Brasilia during the tournament. Last year I came here many times – the stadium is the second most expensive in the world after Wembley Stadium apparently. Set in the Brazilian Highlands the capital city was designed in 1956.
Putting behind yesterdays awful experience, I started the day off in a positive mood. I had to!
Although it was of course Argentina v Belgium, the Brazil fans were out in force. The Police not letting one set of fans take in a piece of painted wood in the colours of Argentina in the shape of a coffin inside the stadium to symbolise their death in the tournament.
This is my favourite stadium. Very tall, very steep, its like a huge Spanish Bull Ring. The fans were close and just went up in the three-tiered venue.
Although it was another 1PM kick off, the light here was far less hazy. Perhaps it is because it is in land but because of the steepness of the stadium, the shadows seemed darker and there was less ambient light bouncing around.
I had done both teams prior to this game, so made use of getting close to Adnan Januzaj who applies his trade for Manchester United. Perhaps one day someone may want some portraits of him. Perhaps one day they won’t but that’s the way we work!
As the sun shone strongly, Belgium gave a good performance. The half time sprinklers soaked my computer resulting in the mouse not being to work for about 20 minutes, but the water droplets soon dried up and I was good to go again.
My performance was much better too. My head was in a different world compared to yesterday! I was taking pictures as normal and they were sharp, crisp and not horrible like yesterday.
Belgium so nearly sneaked an equaliser with the last kick of the match. Lakuku crossing for a near certain goal, only for Ezequiel Garay to make an epic clearance. It was as exciting as if a goal had have been scored.
The outstanding event though was left to after the game. TV Channels around the world were most probably focussing on the preview of the other Quarter Final or showing a film or cartoon.
I guess the fighting during the game by Brazilian folk – again annoying the fans from the competing nations was never shown on TV, but this certainly should have been. It was epic.
After all the day tripper fans had left, after all the Brazilian people had left, about 20 Belgian fans stood and watched with their frowns turning into smiles as the groundstaff began repairing the pitch.
Suddenly, all the fans of Argentina congregated at the other end of the pitch.
The Belgians clapped and pushed away the stewards who were requesting them to leave their sector of the stadium. They acknowledged the great support and this is a nation who have epic encounters like Standard Liege v Anderlecht which is nearly as good as any Galatasaray v Fenerbache, Celtic v Rangers or Inter v Juventus fixture for atmosphere.
The Brazilians may have tried to take coffins into the stadium to symbolise the death of their rivals but it’s looking to me like Argentina will reach the final. I think the locals are scared.