Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Day 38 - Sao Paulo - home of Charles Miller (and me, for a day!) where we witnessed a World Cup massacre

Another myth shattered today: Sao Paulo is terrible to get to and travel around. I was literally in my room in Santos (very plush it was too) at 8:05 am this morning and by 10:15 am I was at my hotel in Sao Paulo, so early they had to send me away again.

I didn't quite get up in time for my early morning stroll on the beach in Santos. I do regret not doing that but, what the hell, it's a holiday so I went to breakfast instead. Another nice cheese and ham toastie three cups of coffee and lots of fruit.

The check out went smoothly and the cab came within 5 minutes. You know, with absolute certainty that here in Brasil you only have to mention something to do with football and you'll have an entertaining journey.

"Ache que Brasil vai gagnar hoje?" was all I needed to ask and the guy launched into a (no doubt) well rehearsed discussion of who he thinks will win and why. Some of it was beyond me, of course, but I think I got the gist: As a Brasilian he hopes Brasil will win, obviously, but it will be very difficult. Germany are a good team.

My own Brasilian Hexa - 6th Football Shirt bought here

Santos Streets

On the bus nice and safe and early

1st Favela on the way to Sao Paulo

Terminal - 60 minutes later

Brasilian buses are punctual, comfortable and cheap

Sao Paolo Metro is great

Arrived at my next stop

Football Museum

So everyone keeps telling me. I'm not so impressed myself. The 4-0 win against Portugal was very flattering, I thought. Ghana were unlucky not to beat them but I grant that Germany did look good... against the USA (hardly world beaters). In the round of 16, they made hard work of Algeria and in the quarter finals it was a dull, dull win against France. I thought France, like most teams, paid them too much respect.

Anyway, the taxi ride took 15 minutes so I got to the bus station with 5 minutes to spare. Despite a woman trying to make me go the wrong way (maybe she thought I still needed to buy my ticket) I got on the bus nice and easy. It set off exactly on time - as these buses always do - and after a bit of traffic getting out of Santos, the scenery transformed into surprisingly beautiful hilly forests, where Charles Miller's father must have worked when building the Santos to Sao Paolo railway in the late 19th century (alas no more).

The bus left Santos at 8:30 and it was 9:15 before I spotted my first sign of the vast metropolis of Sao Paulo - a favela on the edge of the hills. Another 15 minutes later and we were at our destination, a big bus stop in the south of the city called Jabaqueara. Try getting into London that quick!

Pele & me

Charles Miller

World Cups Gallery

Praca Charles Miller

It was a doddle to get a train to Sao Joaquim metro stop, which is five minutes walk from my hotel, Leques Brasil but although I found it ridiculously easy, considering I'd only just arrived in a city of 25 million people a few minutes earlier the room wasn't ready for me. So, I put my England shirt on (essential for where I was a heading) and off I went. I got a cab driver (I think a bit camp) to take me to Praca Charles Miller and the football museum.

After a couple of selfies of the sign itself it was into the football museum which was ok, but honestly not a patch on the one at Deepdale. The "origins" room had hundreds of nice photos of period Brasil in the later 19th and early 20th century but they completely ignored the actual ORIGIN of the game: "Made in England". 

It really is time that England, got the historical credit it deserves in World football. The museum gave credit to Charles Miller for introducing football to Brazil though, so at least that's something. The fact that the whole square is named after him, says a lot.

A lovely Brasilian girl in Belo Horizonte said something to me a few days ago. It wound me up a little at the time, but it's been niggling me ever since. She said "We will win the world cup. It is ours". Well you can't argue with five wins, I suppose, and maybe a sixth this time, but hold on, if football is anyone's, it's England's. We might not be the best in the world, but we definitely started it. That has to count for something.

The museum is more about glorifying Brazil and the World Cup than the history of the game itself, but it is definitely worth a visit.

After that I got another cab ride back here where I could get into my room and change and relax a bit.

I had a nice quick swim in the pool on the roof here and then got ready to go out and meet Craig Sharp from Perth for the Germany v Brasil semi final.

We met outside the metro station and went straight into the city to the fanfest where we got in nice and early, time for a couple of Brahmas.

Then, the match...

It's hard to know what to write about this. It has to be the most incredible result in World football ever. Here's the score: Brazil 1 Germany 7.

I repeat...

 Brazil 1 Germany 7.

Now if this was a relatively minor league game, say Gillingham v Notts County and the score had been 7-1 it would have been pretty amazing. If the home team had lost, so Gillingham 1 Notts County 7, it would have been even more amazing. If it had been a World Cup qualifier, even more amazing. A match in a group stage of a world cup, even more so. But this was the semi-final of the World Cup, one where the home team got totally slaughtered in front of their home fans and a world audience of 3 billion or so.

I can't imagine how true Brasilian football fans must feel right now. As an England fan, I know disappointment but this has to be a different order of magnitude. England never list at home 1-7. Even the Hungary humiliation was only 3-6.


The phrase that's comes to mind here is "nobody saw that coming" but, ironically, I know one guy who did: Jens Hirschberg posted that Germany were going to "smash" Brasil on FB before the game. So credit due to Jens there. But I really doubt even Jens had anticipated such appalling Brasilian defending. At 11 minutes it was 0-0. At 28 minutes it was 0-5. Game over. All but one of those goals was a generous, suicidal, gift.

I wish England played against teams who were bent on suicide liken that, but instead England always seem to play against teams or players who are miraculously playing at their best ever, not their worst ever.

Anyway, Craig was as shocked as I was but we were all impressed with how the Brasilians took their humiliation. After the match I tried to take Craig to a place I'd been recommended by the drunk engineer in Recife but when the taxi finally found it, it was closed. So we ended up having a rather average Mexican and shared a bottle of red wine before separating and I cam back here, still shell shocked about the football.

Craig & me in Sao Paulo

A catastrophe unfolded in 22 minutes to make Uruguay in 1950 seem trivial

Did I just witness that!?

Sao Paolo

Sao Paulo

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