Brazil Pt IX: FIFA World Cup Match: Belgium vs Russia

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Belgium vs Russia

The primary motivation behind our trip to South America was to attend a FIFA World Cup match and we were lucky enough to get tickets for a match at Maracanã during the balloting process.

Tickets

Our Malaysian friends were also watching the same match and we arranged to travel to the stadium together. The tickets came with transport instructions and we gave ourselves ample time by setting off two hours before kick-off.

Arriving at São Cristóvão station

Like the other fans, we followed the bright yellow signs directing us to the stadium.

Brazilian fans

Making our way to the stadium

Keep walking

Soon we came to the first checkpoint where security staff checked our tickets. We would stop for several more times before we got to the stadium.

Stadium in horizon

Felt like a carnival

As our Malaysian friends were sitting in a different section, we had to split with them.

Group photo before saying goodbye

Police mascots

Ticket offices

Stadium map

Queuing up to clear security

Russians ahead of us

Excited!

Selfie sticks weren’t allowed in the stadium and we had to deposit ours with a steward.

Steward who would keep our selfie sticks for the match

Post-security

Russian fans

Entrance to hospitality suites

To our seats

Both of us were awed with the stadium.

Maracanã

Finding our seats

Filling up

Teams warming up

Russians warming up

Belgians preferred to be in the shade

We noticed that other fans had the special edition Coca Cola cup for the match and with time to spare, we decided to get one each.

Half an hour to go

Queuing for food

Prices

Coca cola kiosk

No bottles allowed

When we returned, the atmosphere was electric.


Pre-match

Russian fans

Belgian contingent

The Belgians were definitely the favourite for the game as they boasted top players such as Vincent Company and Eden Hazard. In contrast, I didn’t know most of the Russian players and their manager Fabio Capello was probably more famous.


Teams coming out of tunnel


Belgian national anthem


Russian national anthem

Kick-off

The first half ended 0-0 and it was quite a boring match. Both sides were cautious and didn’t create any clear-cut chances.

Halftime wefie

Russian free kick


Mexican wave

73,819 fans

Getting nervous

Getting restless

Free kick to Belgium which came to nothing

Corner

With time running out, I told Ying that we might need to attend another World Cup match in order to witness our first goal. Then out of nowhere, Divock Origi scored with minutes remaining in the match.


GOALLLLL


Belgian celebration after Divock Origi’s goal

The Belgians went mental

Celebrating

The Belgians managed to hold on for the victory and the fans kept singing after the match.

The winning team walking over to their fans

Thanking the fans for their support

MOTM – Eden Hazard

We spotted some Singaporeans sitting in the same area as us and we approached them for photos. Turned out that one of them went to the same secondary school as me. It’s a small world after all!

Singaporeans in Rio

Getting out

Souvenirs for sale

Ain’t cheap

Many fans chose not to keep the cups and we went around to get them as souvenirs.

Full of cups

After collecting our selfie stick, we made our way back to our accommodation. Instead of going to São Cristóvão station, we went to São Francisco Xavier station instead.

World Cup winners 1958, 1962

Photo with Belgian fan

Police on horseback

Belgians dressed as bees

Patrick happy in his temporary home

While the match wasn’t the most exciting, the late goal lifted the atmosphere. Felt sorry for the Russians who was hanging on until then. At least they have the next World Cup to look forward to on their home soil.

Meanwhile, I am thinking if we should go to Euro 2016 in France…

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