avenida paulista, brazil, charles miller, England, fifa, football, Globo, goal, hull city, italy, mark hillary, neymar, o`malley's, reality check, san paulo, sao paulo, SPAC, the book is on the table, tv, uruguay, world cup
So the day of England v Uruguay had arrived and I was to start the day very early to play a game of football on the Charles Miller sportsground to the south of the city. Charles Miller is the person generally credited with introducing football to Brazil and Globo TV had turned up to film the game.
The reason I had been invited is a story in itself and goes back to the fact that Hull City had made it into the FA Cup final. As it happens there is a group called Hull City Brasil, Brazilians who support Hull City. They sent a message to the club about where they were planning to watch the game and a friend shared the club’s facebook message with me. We were intending to watch the game at home on ITV Player but when, at 11 o’clock, our internet connection failed, we decided to hot foot it to the bar where we found three Brazilians in Hull City shirts and more Brazilians arrived, typically for Brazilians, later.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, Matheus who organises Hull City Brazil has a journalist friend who plays for a Sunday football team called Barao and he was trying to organise a mini tournament between Barao, the Sao Paulo Athletic Club (SPAC) and a team of British journalists at SPAC’s ground which is named after the man who introduced football to Brazil.
Although no british journalists turned up, I was allowed to play twenty minutes for Barao and despite threading a carefully placed pass through to an opposition player with my second touch we still managed a victory over SPAC before retiring to the BBQ area where Globo we due to broadcast live.
Not having tickets to the game, we decided to watch the game in a bar off Avenida Paulista with some friends. I don’t need to dwell on the details of the game and so will skip to the after game party (or wake) for which we chose O’Malley’s Irish pub where a friend of ours, Mark Hillary, author of the book Reality Check, was promoting a gig by The MacManus Brothers who were over in Sao Paulo to launch their new album. At O’Malleys we met our other friend (though we do have more than two) Andy Martin, author of The Book is on the Table blog, who had been to the game and described having to break up fights between England fans and Brazilians who had been trying to provoke them. He describes an elderly Brazilian wearing a Sao Paulo FC shirt trying to hit England fans with his crutch.
England’s thin glimmer of hope was crushed yesterday by Costa Rica’s victory over Italy. Last night Brazilian Sports journalist Milton Neves proudly announced on television in English that “England is dead”. Just you wait Milton Neves, just you wait. So I’ll leave you with a joke: What is the difference between the England team and a tea bag? A tea bag stays in the cup longer.
On Sunday we set off for Belo Horizonte for England’s final game, a game now pointless for England, though not pointless for Costa Rica. I’ll let you know how we get on plus I’ll be letting you know about the controversy of the World Cup mascot and maybe sharing some images of how people have been decorating the streets of Sao Paulo. Until then, enjoy the games.