Our Man in Brazil: World Cup Diary with Alastair Yeomans

World Cup Diary with Alastair Yeomans
World Cup Diary with Alastair Yeomans

Friday June 27

The weather across this vast country varies considerably.

There was flooding in Recife ahead of the USA v Germany game the other day.

But we are back in Rio for the Round of Sixteen game between Uruguay (minus the disgraced Luiz Suarez) and Colombia.

The sun is out, the temperature is in the high twenties and the top of the huge mountain behind our hotel is crystal clear.

Para-gliders soar and swoop above the sea to add to the picture postcard scene.

The contrast between the haves and have nots is also quite stark.

In the shopping Mall around the corner from our hotel there is a ‘Ferrari Shop’ complete with a Formula One car parked on the forecourt.

Ten minutes down the road is the Rochina favela, one of the poorest areas in Rio where there were reports of shots being fired the other night.

Saturday June 28

Uruguay v Colombia at the iconic Maracana Stadium.

The stadium was used for the 1950 World Cup and had a capacity of almost 200,000!

It’s been been rebuilt since then and now holds a more modest 78,000.

It’s still quite a sight and will be a fitting venue for the Final in a couple of weeks.

The tension in the stadium before the game was generated by pictures of Brazil’s penalty shoot-out against Chile in Belo Horizonte being beamed to us on the big screens.

The noise was intense and our stadium exploded with relief – and indeed I imagine the whole country did too – when Brazil scraped through.

Cue fireworks outside the stadium, hugs, cheers and beaming smiles inside.

For the good of the tournament, it was probably for the best.

And now our commentary team (pictured) has an hour to compose itself before our game.