With kick off scheduled for the day after tomorrow, more flags are going up, streets and lamposts are being painted, I’m starting to get fed up of reading interesting facts about past Brazilian victories on margarine tub packaging and I spotted my first visiting football supporters. Not Croatians as you might expect but Colombians, three of them, wearing thick yellow jackets to protect them against the Sao Paulo chill.
There are probably thousands of other visitors not displaying team colours whom I haven’t spotted as I know many supporters arrived long before the teams whom they support.
Brazilian TV continue their round the clock vigil at the Brazilian training ground, speculating on every sight and sound with a zeal normally reserved for royal births or papal deaths. Spare a thought for the poor Globo reporter stood outside at all hours and in all weather, ready at a moments notice to recount the fact that David Luiz has just said good night to Thiago Silva who in turn has whispered nighty night to Neymar in a bizarre football themed re-inactment of The Waltons.
Still at least all the Brazilian team have to do after breakfast is have a leisurely trot down a gentle slope to their training pitch by a beautiful lake at the foot of picturesque mountains in the tranquil rural setting of Teresopolis.
England on the other hand have to cram into their standard issue world cup bus and struggle through the noisy polluted, and lets not forget, slightly dangerous streets of Rio to get to their training pitch. Yesterday Ross Berkley almost missed the bus.
Contrast this will the German squad who have made the investment of constructing their own training ground in a beautiful coastal area of Bahia which they plan to donate to the local community when they leave.
What is the reason for the large discrepency in the arrangements for these squads? Perhaps it is that, unlike Germany and Brazil, England don’t really expect to have a game in Rio so thought they’d stay in the place so they could have a look around before they get knocked out in the group stage.
Certainly, ex-captain of Brazil, Lucio was not exactly positive about England’s chances when he tactfully tried to sidestep the question at a visit to his children’s international school recently.
Thursday is a holiday in Sao Paulo so plans are being drawn up about where people plan to see the game. Doubtless some will check out the big screens at the FIFA fan fest while others will wander up to Vila Madalena where the game will be projected onto the side of a building but, for the majority of Paulistas it’s likely to be an excuse to light the churrasqueira (BBQ) stuff themselves with meat and down a few cans of fizzy lager with the family.
The tube strike ended today and, while Sao Paulo was not exactly gripped in the chaos the British press like to suggest, there was a lot of disruption and some unrest.
If Brazil win on Thursday I predict that a feel good mood will grip the nation and all the unrest will feel less important for a while. If, however, they lose (heaven forbid) I wouldn’t be surprised if the accompanying frustration bubbles over.
Not long to find out.