Intrepid World Cup traveller Simon Hagens and his band of merry men have moved on from Manaus to Sao Paulo, where they await England’s pivotal clash with Uruguay on Thursday. In between cultural outreach sessions at various bars and eateries, the lads took time out on Tuesday to watch the host nation fight to a goalless standoff with Mexico.
Game day yesterday was insane. Anyone who was working, which was almost no one, knocked off at 1:00 p.m. (a tidy three hours before kickoff) and streamed toward the bars to watch the game. We set up in a window seat at a bar in the Vila Madalena neighbourhood. The bar filled up, and soon the street behind the window filled up as well. Soccer and a huge party appear to be the same thing.
The crowd was disappointed by the draw with Mexico, but it did nothing to dampen the mood. The street next to our bar was filled with revelry. Fifty metres up the hill , the crowd was a full on writhing mass, fuelled by guys with monster car speakers and street beer vendors. A good night. We’re beginning to wonder if we should just come to Brazil for every World Cup from now on.