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World Cup Diary Day 9: Brazil draw doesn’t stop party

| 18.06.2014

Not only have I had the chance to meet one of my idols in Everton boss Roberto Martinez, I’ve also been busy mingling with Brazil fans on the Copacabana beach.

The Selecao’s 0-0 draw with Mexico didn’t stop the World Cup party and no doubt livened up the mood of the Ladbrokes trading floor too!

World Cup Diary 9

04:30 –  I’m up at the crack of dawn  to keep tabs on what’s going on back at home and once again marvel at the sight of Cristo Redentor  to give it its proper name lit up in the last hours of darkness.

06:00 – I’ve got a real soft spot for a specials market and in this case I’m tickled when a colleague emails to suggest we should offer prices on who should voice Dangermouse in the brand new series of the cartoon. Russell Brand & Stephen Fry are the favourites with Phil Neville the 200/1 outsider.

09:20 – I’ve been asked to come down to the ESPN studios at the end of the Copacabana to film a couple of pieces for BT Sport and ABC in America, looking at some of the more offbeat betting stories of the tournament so far.

The highlight being the customer of ours in Dublin who scooped 118k from a €10 12-leg goals accumulator. Prep finished, it’s time to head down there.

09:26 – I thought the taxi journey back from the stadium in Manaus was a hair raising experience but this is something else. Credit to the driver for getting me there as fast as he can (although I have a feeling that is his only driving style) but I’ve never had to shut my eyes and hold on tight during a car journey in my entire life.

The highway code for a taxi driver in Rio must clearly indicate that lanes are entirely fluid, undertaking is mandatory, indication is at no point ever required and the horn should be used at all times, as loudly as possible.

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09:40 –  ESPN have a plot at the end of the beach in a development housing the majority of the major broadcasters including the BBC, as I go into the production room, I come across ESPN pundits Ruud van Nistelrooy and Roberto Martinez who are relaxing before their show, comparing ties – for info, Van Nistelrooy seems to think he’s won the tie-off that day with a green and white number.

Normally, I’m a strong believer in the old adage ‘never meet your heroes’ and in this instance it’s fair to say as an Everton fan I feel a little star struck, but I’m pleased to say everything you read and interpret about Martinez and his character.


11:00 – Broadcast over for the day it’s time to head back to the hotel.

14:30 –  The streets around the Copacabana are already starting to fill up, with little regard for traffic as supporters all stream towards the fan fest.

I’m one of the only people going in the opposite direction as I head for some food, jumping into a Brazilian buffet packed with, you guessed it, Chile fans, who treat diners to a well-organised Chi Chi Chi, Le, Le,Le.

14:37 –  My heart leaps when it appears that a little bit of British football has made its way across to Brazil in the shape of the miniature pukka pies on offer.

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15:10 –  So busy is the main fan fest that a secondary screen situation almost a mile away from the original stage is in use for the first time. It’s no exaggeration to say the entire beach is full in the same way as it was when the Pope and the Rolling Stones came to town (not on the same bill).

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15:47 –  The street traders are out in force which is nothing new, although one entrepreneur has decided to carve out a USP for himself by hawking plastic ketchup/mustard bottles (complete with Brazil flag) that pretend to squeeze a jet of sauce at an unwitting passer by.

I have to say he catches quite a few people out the first time they come across him, so much so that he makes a couple of sales as he walks past. The Dragons would be proud.

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16:00 – Kick-off time and the small yet vocal contingent of Mexicans are by far the loudest, out chanting the home fans who have so far failed to turn their overall levels of excitement into organised chanting/singing of any kind.

16:12 –  It seems like some aspects of football fandom are entirely universal and the Mexicans are enjoying baiting Julio Cesar before a goal kick to exactly the same tune as is popular in English. I didn’t take Spanish beyond GCSE level, but think the tone is along the same line.

17:00 –  Brazil fans getting increasingly restless as Mexicans revel in their goalkeeper’s incredible performance. Boys back at the office definitely cheering every save just as loudly as a 0-0 in any game involving Brazil is a result and a half.

18:00 – Full-time whistle goes and while many of the Brazilians seem disgruntled, there are plenty who just came to party, with one particularly frantic samba session featuring live drumming taking place.

Sure, there are a few attempts at some similar moves in the trading room in Laddies HQ as we speak.

The Copacabana is now as usual morphing into the usual heady Latin American-themed festival which is proving to be dominated even more so now by Chile fans who have rolled into town in vast number ahead of their decisive clash with Spain tomorrow.

There may have been more Argentines on Sunday, but the Chileans are ten times as loud and when you consider their version of the England band have turned up too, things don’t look like quietening down any time soon.


Read all about my World Cup odyssey on Ladbrokes News and follow me on Twitter @LadsAlex!

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Alex Donohue

One third of Ladbrokes' PR team, Alex covers football, politics and current affairs and is also involved in the bookmaker's SPFL sponsorship.
Check out his latest press releases and odds at Ladbrokes News.