Our Man in Brazil: World Cup Diary with Alastair Yeomans

Our Man in Brazil - World Cup Diary with Alastair Yeomans
Our Man in Brazil - World Cup Diary with Alastair Yeomans

Thursday June 19

Game day.

By now, you will have heard the result.

England named an unchanged team (teamsheet pictured).

In the build up, we take in the noise and atmosphere.

The Arena De Sao Paulo is new and the upper tier of both stands are temporary constructions. Those supporters are very high up and are exposed to the elements. It’s cool and they might well get wet.

Our touchline reporter tells me there is an England flag bearing the legend ‘Scarborough’ on it.

It’s quite an atmosphere (team line-ups for the national anthems pictured).

We are ready.


After every match there is a ritual known as the mixed zone.

Basically, the term means that television stations, newspaper journalists and radio reporters all pile into an are, usually below ground level in a stadium, to try and capture the pearls of wisdom of the players as they walk to their coaches after getting showered.

We are herded into an area behind barriers so the players can walk by unhindered, which is fair enough.

The problem comes with the numbers – far too many journalists for too few players – and the different agendas of different people.

While the England players have been great with us, some other nations don’t quite play ball.

The “pretending I am on my phone so I don’t have to speak to anyone” trick is always a favourite of the players who don’t want to look at you.

The “sticking my large headphones on and whistling as I walk by” another staple mixed zone tradition.

And then there are the reporters themselves.

Watch out when Spain are playing. Their guys have equipment bearing long, sharp aerials for some reasons. If you aren’t careful, you could have your eye poked out.

Brazilians are another favourite. The extraordinary obsession with the national team manifests itself in its press pack.

I was once in a mixed zone when Brazil were playing and a huge disturbance broke out behind me.

It was several groups of reporters brawling over who should interview a particular player.

Mixed Zones – they have the characteristics of a zoo!