On Wednesday I got my first taste of soccer in Brasil. Rodrigo and I went to Estádio do Pacaembu (Pacaembu Stadium) to watch Sao Paulo FC take on Capivariano. Pacaembu is a beautiful classic style futebol stadium originally opened in 1940. It seats around 38,000 and is only a short 15 minute walk from the house. Since alcohol isn’t allowed in the stadium, Rodrigo and I showed up about an hour before game time to sit outside, have a beer from one of the street vendors, and talk Brasilian Futebol. Now, since I’ve been here I’ve become acutely aware that in Sao Paulo you are a fan of one of 3 teams – Sao Paulo, Palmeiras, or Corinthians. Futebol fandom runs deep in Brazil and I have, more than once, been carefully explained which team I should be a fan of. I told everyone I am waiting until I attend a match of all three teams before making a decision, but today I donned an SPFC jersey and cheered on the Tricolors (Black, Red and white).
Overall my first futebol game was a great success. There weren’t many in attendance (approx. 7,500) but the passion and energy were at full force. The first half was dominated by Sao Paulo. It was incredible to watch the deft passing, unbelievable control, and moves I didn’t even think were possible. After 45 minutes the home team led 2-0 with three near misses which could have made it even worse. The second half however was a much closer contest with Capivariano and Sao Paulo trading goals back and forth bringing the fans around us into an anxious state of observation. While the outcome was never actually in doubt, the fact that Capivariano, a very small (and not very good team) was putting up such a strong fight did not sit well with everyone. As the final whistle blew however Sao Paulo walked off the field with a 4-2 win and everyone went home happy.
Some interesting observations from the game:
– Tickets are purchased for a section of the stadium, not a specific seat. Once inside your section you can sit wherever you’d like. And to make sure you stay in your own section? Huge white metal fences. I wondered how many people climbed the fences to sneak into other sections.
– One of the players on Sao Paulo is hated by their fans. Why? I have no idea but every time he touched the ball they would whistle loudly and scream profanities at him. What an odd way to treat a home team player.
– Concessions at the game are extremely cheap. A hot dog and chips cost about $2.50. A bottle of water? $1.
– The official fan club section is nuts. Rodrigo meant to buy our tickets for their area but bought them for a different section instead. While he was pretty bummed, it did provide me a great view of what the section (and fans) were like. It is like everything you are imagining. Drums, non stop chanting, choreographed cheers – it was insane. I don’t think they sat down at any point during the game. While our area participated in many of the cheers, they picked their spots. Next time we will make sure to be right in the middle of the die hards.
I took a couple of videos to document my experience at the game and just so happened to get the final Sao Paulo goal on video. Enjoy!
You can’t tell from my video but it was an unbelievably beautiful goal. See for yourself. Here are all 6 goals from the game. Sao Paulo is in white and the goal I captured is the goal at the 0:53 mark. And I will say this, for being such a small team, both of Capivariano’s goals were amazing. Especially their first.
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