As the sun set in a glorious orange glow over the FIFA Fan Fest™ at St George’s Park on Friday, Brazilian football fans watched in horror as their dreams went down as well.
Tears of disappointment flowed down the faces of many yellow-clad supporters after the Netherlands had won the much anticipated quarterfinal match in Port Elizabeth.
Geert Wijngaardt, a 32-year-old engineer from Amsterdam, said he was astonished as well as ecstatic at his team’s victory. “I honestly expected the Brazilians to finish us off. They had been the most feared team; how they lost is something I still cannot comprehend.”
Coming to South Africa had been a huge experience but he would return for a family holiday, Wijngaardt said. “And Port Elizabeth has been, without a doubt, my favourite destination so far.”
He particularly enjoyed watching the game on the big screen at St George’s Park. “The atmosphere was simply magnificent and sharing this special moment with this crowd is something I will treasure forever.”
He intended to stay to watch the match between Uruguay and Ghana which was to start at 8.30pm.
Georgiou Mendez, 48, from Brazil could not contain his disappointment.
“They had been so brilliant and this loss was totally unexpected. But, even though we will not be in the final, I remain a proud Brazilian.
“I predict the Netherlands and Germany will battle it out in the final and the Germans will take home the World Cup.”
Mendez planned to spend the rest of the evening with his fellow-supporters in a Bay sports bar. “I need a stiff drink in the company of people who can sympathise with me. I don’t feel like any more soccer today, but perhaps I’ll gather the guts to watch the match later tonight. My money is on Uruguay.”
Daniel Mosena, from Joe Slovo near Despatch, said he had come to the FIFA Fan Fest™ because he could not afford a ticket to the match.
“I am so happy that I had the opportunity to watch the game here on this giant screen instead of my television set. The images were so bright and clear and one could almost feel the emotions of the players.
“I am sorry for Brazil because they had a great tournament so far. But now they know how we Bafana Bafana supporters felt when our team fell out.”
More than 23 000 fans streamed through the St George’s Park gates earlier on Friday and by 18:00 more were still arriving to enjoy the evening’s entertainment by De Javu, Syndicate Sisters and the SA Tourism Diski Dancers and, of course, live coverage of the match between Uruguay and Ghana.
Saturday’s match between Argentina and Germany will be shown on the big screen from 4pm and the one between Spain and Paraguay from 8.30pm. Top-class artists such as DJ Killer and Dear Martyr will perform.
Gates open at 1pm and entrance is free.
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