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0 Comments World Cup 2014: Ouch, That Stung

Article written by Boris Bozic on the 25 Jun 2014 in World Events

I’ve been to a number of soccer matches in foreign countries, but nothing compares to the hostile atmosphere I experienced Monday night in Recife, Brazil.  The stadium was awash with green, the colour of the Mexican soccer jersey.  With the Brazilians in attendance supporting the Mexicans, this was like a home game for Mexico.

They were in full voice, and my dad and I were left with no choice but to grimace (sorry, there could be no grin) and bear it. The Mexican fans showed little in the way of imagination, but I have to hand to them, they sure are perseverant.  On every opposing free kick they would wave their hands and chant the same thing over and over again. They start as the player is setting up, and when he kicks the ball they yell out “puto.”  It goes something like this: “Oooooooooooooooooo, Putoooooooo!”

I don’t think there’s a need to provide a definition of the word “puto.”  It’s an international word, the pronunciation being fairly close in Portuguese, Spanish and Italian. Suffice it to say, it’s not nice.  Now, to be fair, Croatian fans have some nasty chants.  But when you’re a thousand, amongst forty thousand in attendance, there’s no getting even.

Being serenaded all night by the Mexican fans, while witnessing a meltdown by the Croatian soccer team in the second half of the game, had me thinking about taking the long journey home a tad early.  The game was puzzling. The Croatian team dominated play in the first half and I got the sense it was just a matter of time before they scored. Yet, for some unknown reason the Croatian coach decided to change tactics and formation in the second half. What a stroke of genius it was. The Croatian players looked totally confused and surrendered 3 goals in a matter of 10 minutes.  Alex, I’ll take “oops” for $1,000. Final score, Mexico 3 – Croatia  1.  Full measure to Mexico.  On this night they were the better team.

The result of the game did not produce an indelible memory of the game itself.  But the experience getting to the game was a highlight.  There were so few Croatian fans attending the game that we became a novelty.  I giggled watching my dad being constantly asked to pose with Mexican fans for a picture.  On the bus, the metro and at the game. It was constant.  I started calling him Hollywood.  He graciously accepted every request for a photo and was happy to do it.

I chuckled at some offers made to me be some Mexican supporters, like the man in the picture wearing a mask. He asked if I would trade my commemorative Euro 2008 cap, from Austria, for his homemade, papier-mâché, Lucha Libre  Mexican wrestling mask. As difficult as the decision was, I respectfully declined.  Or the woman who approached me on the platform at the metro. She wanted to exchange the jersey she was wearing for the one I had adorned.  I had to think that through.  First of all, she was a size minus 3 and I was wearing a jersey that had enough material to make a duvet for a king size bed.  Secondly, I wasn’t feeling the love for Mexican fans.  For 90 minutes during the game you kept calling me a puto, and now you want my jersey?  Thirdly, it was a Mexican jersey! I passed on the offer.

It was a great trip but now it’s time to flip the switch.  I see the condo market is rather buoyant, and prices have increased some 285% in the last three years.  Okay, so I’m referring to the condo market in Recife, Brazil.  Try as might I couldn’t find a single article about a looming condo bust there. No worries, I’ll get plenty of that as soon as I touch down in Toronto.

Until next time


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