The Marvelous City, one of the many names for Rio de Janeiro, host of the next FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the 2016 Summer Olympic Games....and one of my favourite places to be....any year.
We have the 17th edition of the SOCCEREX GLOBAL EXPO at the Convention Centre at the Fort of Copacabana overlooking possibly the most famous beach in the world. There are 4,500 delegates here to talk the business of football, including large booths featuring the 12 host cities and regions that will have World Cup matches in eighteen months from now.
On Saturday evening I was at The ENGENHAO, the popular name for the Estadio Olimpico Joao Havelange. I had a great view from the press tribunewith only about 7,000 fans present for a local derby between Vasco da Gama and Flamengo, and over 40,000 empty seats.
It wasn`t much of a match and I decided not to return on Sunday for Botafogo v Atletico Mineiro from Belo Horizonte. Rio`s buses and Metro are really good but the local trains from Estacio Central are old and slow. It took a long time with about 20 stops before we reached Engenhao, and it was very crowded. The stadium is being used by the four local clubs; Vasco, Flamengo, Fluminense and Botafogo while work is being carried out on Maracana, which is half the distance from the centre of Rio and accessible by METRORIO.
Nilton opened the scoring for Vasco in their distinctive white shirts with a black slash after 36 minutes with a rocket of a free kick from 30 metres out past Fla keeper Paulo Victor. The referee had marked off 9 metres with his sray chalk that lasts for about 10 seconds. Flamengo, Brazil`s most popular club almost equalized on half time but for a brilliant world class full length save by Vasco goalie and captain Fernando Prasso. The heavens opened and the six angry looking police dogs leftt for cover with their handlers and never returned when the rain stopped.
Half time and the world´s worste hot dog Doggis Hot Dog, plus an ice cold Guarana Light. The second half was a little better but I decided to leave early just as Flamengo equalised in the 87th minute from Marcos Gonzalez from a corner by substitute Adryan.