On the bus ride over, we joined a contest to pick a team and final score. The winner would receive a prize at the conclusion of the match. Since Sara is a huge fan of pink, she naturally picked Flamengo - since flamingoes are pink...follow the logic? - to win right away (you will see Sara pointing to "her team" on the scoreboard in a picture below). Her final score was 2-1. John thought that since we were in Brazil, he should support the Brazilian team, São Paulo, and chose a score of 1-0. He didn´t realize that Flamengo was actually one of the hometown teams in Rio. Ooops, rookie mistake. We arrived at the stadium about an hour and a half before
the start of the match. After being patted down by the Policia Militar, we were free to choose any seat in the stadium. Ticket prices were 30 Reais (about $17). Can you imagine buying a ticket to see the Yankees for $17 and then picking a seat right behind home plate?!
Since it was a rainy day, attendance seemed to be down but the crowd that showed up was very passionate. We wish we could understand some of the things the crowd was shouting at the players. All nice things, we´re sure. There was one particular section in the upper deck of the stadium that bounced up and down chanting and singing the entire game. The first team to score was São Paulo shortly after the half. Flamengo quickly came back and scored and the match was tied 1-1. And that´s where it ended. We both feel that games should never end in ties, but no one in Brazil has asked for our opinions yet.
The experience was unique and we don´t feel any trip to Brazil is complete without seeing a futebol match firsthand. The game is religion in the country and on this Sunday, we both attended church.