Brazil-Canada Live in the Stadium!!!
Watching Brazil live from inside the stadium was one of my cherished dreams since my childhood days. Last evening it came true!!! And believe me, it was awesome, terrific, superb … (many more). I liked the atmosphere, the spectators, the match and the players. Let me describe and share my experience with the readers.
Seattle is not known for football (or Soccer) matches. Only this year they have announced a team in MLS – the soccer league in USA. The team is a brainchild of Paul Allen (co-founder of Microsoft) and is sponsored by Xbox 360 (Microsoft). The Qwest field, the major soccer arena of our neighborhood, is also an American football cum soccer ground. It’s big and can draw upto 70,000 crowd. The fun-fact about the stadium is that it is architecturally optimized for noise reverberation – so that fans enjoy being noisy.
Last week, when I heard about Brazil to play Canada in a friendly in Seattle, I didn’t actually feel excited. As a core sports lover, I do not like anything that’s less than serious football, especially an “International Friendly”. Players are not motivated at all to show something and the reward of winning is meagre. Also I was aware that Kaka and Ronaldinho are not going to be a part of the match. Overall, I was less enthusiastic about getting tickets. As the D-day came closer, my mood started to swing. The day before the d-day, I was almost hungry for a ticket. The ticket-price fluctuaions were interestingly similar to those of the price of an idol before the Saraswati puja. The price went up before the night of the match and stayed high throughout the morning. But it started to fall while an hour was remaining. I bought it from a colleague whose friend fractured his leg on friday (how unlucky he is) and decided not to go for the match. I was not interested to watch the match from the third floor and settled for a ticket on S-9 (extend the smaller goalkeepers’ box to get me at 17th row from the ground level). It cost me $75, where I could have managed a 3rd floor ticket at around $30-$35.
On the day I started off around 5 in the afternoon. The match was scheduled to start at 7:30pm. I roamed around the arena and discovered a wonderful music named Samba. I was aware of Samba from the time I had a love affair with Brazil, but I never thought I’ll be attracted to this. I loved Brazil because of the skill and their passion for football. But this music has something related to it. It has the rhythm of Africa with the mysticism of Amazon. It’s certainly a sophisticated blend of tribal music with a modern beach rhythm. I recorded a few versions of it (see here and here) and happily walked into the stadium. There were lots of Police protection and I was allowed inside only after the thorough bag search.
There were a lot of spectators and the supporters were almost 50-30-20 in ratio (Brazil-Canada-Neutral). To point to an evidence of an overwhelming Brazil supporters, one can look at the business outside. Outside the stadium there’s a huge crowd (before the match) and a string of small temporary roadside stalls. Most of them were actually selling Brazilian food and some standard American fast-food. In USA, people do participate in business in an intelligent and opportunistic way (in India people do this also but only a fraction of overall population actually get a fair chance to show their business skills). The monopolistic T-shirt vendor was selling a Brazil T-shirt at $129 and a full-length brazil flag at $60 where the same items for Canada were priced at $100 and $35 respectively. As expected, the price started going down as the match started (I heard from others).
The match started and I was worried with my camera. I was in a dilemma to watch the match through my eyes or through the 10x zoom camera. Before I understand anything a Brazilian attcak started from the side we were sitting and Robinho dodged passed a defender. I stood up cheering and the goal was scoed off his pass. I clicked at the time it was scored and my eyes were not on the camera at all. However, it’s a factor of beginners’ luck that I clicked at the right time and captured the shot off Diego getting into the net. I was never lucky enough for next four goals.
Canada, surprisingly, equalized within a few minutes. A long cross was misjudged by all Brazilian defenders or may be because they were short in height, was headed in by the tall Canadian striker (Friend). The match actually opened up after this. There were a few lapses in Brazilian defense and Canadian strikers missed golder oppourtunities to score on a couple of occasions. Both the time, they were one-to-one with the goalkeeper and once it went just outside and the other time the shot was saved by lucky Julio Cesar. Towards the end of first half, Brazil went ahead once more, with a header from Luis Fabiano.
The second half was more eventful with Canada started a few long-rangers from outside the box. And they succeeded with their approach, getting the second equalizer before the 60th minute with what is arguably the best goal of the match. The player number 6(Guzman) dribbled and ran from left to right and struck with his right foot to the right hand side of the golie. The awesome power did not allow Cesar to react in time though the shot was not placed that well. The joy was spoilled within a few minutes with Robinho cashed in on a weak misdirected back-pass from the goalscorer himself (that number 6) and scored the winner. Adriano came to the ground after 65th minute but Brazil never really attcked after they regained the lead for the third time. Last ten minutes it was all Canada and Brazil was defending to stay in the lead. They succeeded and the end scoreline was 3-2.
After crossing a huge traffic and an over-crowded bus I came back to my house at around 11pm at night. It was a great day and I did not miss to upload the pics on Orkut and videos on youtube. I don’t think the story ends here though I this is my last sentence on this blog. I have got the taste of watching football live … and immediately started planning to be in South Africa in a couple of years.