Juan Kincaid / WWL-TV Sports
RIO DE JANIERO - First off, let me just say, "Go, go USA." Great Game vs. Portugal. You were the better team, but the better team doesn't always win. Bring on Germany.
As for the game, I did get to see - live and in person - Russia and Belgium from the famed Maracana Stadium. A sized down, renovated Maracana Stadium that once held nearly 200,000 people in the 1950 World Cup when Brazil lost to Uruguay back then.
On this day, only 74,000 saw Belgium beat Russia 1-nil
Game day in Rio was as I expected it would be with plenty of pomp and circumstance. The Red, White and Blue of Mother Russia vs. the Red, Yellow and Black of Belgium - one of the favorites in this tournament. There was plenty of singing, drinking, eating, picture taking and then more singing, more drinking, more eating. You get the idea.
If you've never been to a World Cup (this is my second), then you're missing one heck of a spectacle, one heck of a party. It's Mardi Gras times 50. As my pictures show you, people from all over the world are calling Rio, Ipanema, Copacabana and Baha Beach, home for a night or for this entire one-month celebration.
And as I've gotten around this massive city, I've found it to be a lot - A LOT - like New Orleans. Great food, great people, beautiful city are the highs. The city's poverty hits you right in the face. And it's sad to see so many people struggling with day to day life. But, they don't lose their smile...just like the people in our wonderful city.
The walk to the stadium was as good as the game today. I caught up with the Russians. They thought I was Jamaican, since I had that country's jersey on. It was quite comical as it made me the 'must-take-a-picture-with-this-guy' guy.
The Russians are boisterous and full of life, full of love for their colors. Good sports in the end as well. They may not make the second round.
The Belgians were the exact opposites. Reserved in nature with a quiet confidence that their team would get the job done. They were right.
One more thing. There were a lot of Americans at this game as well in their Red, White and Blue. And we all (US and Russia) got along. Imagine what our countries leaders could do If they took some clues from soccer fans. hmmmmmm.
Ok...time to say goodnight. Next up for me is USA vs Germany in Recife. Can't wait to Cheer on the boys.
I BELIEVE THAT....
I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN, I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN.
You know that 'that's growing on you.
Ciao from Rio