Copacabana is calm and quite apart from the road to the airport which is jammed with taxis taking travellers home. The locals are relieved and the country proud. We did the World Cup and we did it well (just don't mention the score).
The final took place in Rio's famous Maracanã stadium, the cathedral of football. With almost 80,000 fans inside, the entire city echoed the chants. The building known as 'balança mais não cai' (it shakes but doesn't fall) was rumoured to have shaken once again and the World Cup Final was upon us.
Thanks to Adidas Football I became part of something very special - I was given 8 World Cup tickets to give away to total strangers. I was allowed to simply surprise those most deserving and take them to the final with me.
We chose two Argentina fans who were stood at the gates of the Argentina team hotel awaiting just a glimpse of their favourite squad. They had travelled three days by car and never imagined they would see a game. They came simply to be part of the sporting atmosphere and wanted to be at the team hotel each day so the team could feel the passion pre match. We waited till the team bus had passed and I surprised him with his tickets. He was shaking, he couldn't believe it and he couldn't stop hugging me. Seeing the tears in his eyes, I could tell this was going to be an incredible experience.
Complexo do alemão is the largest community of favelas in the whole of Latin America. 300,000 residents make up 26 separate favelas which have only recently been partly pacified. Only partly pacified because it is so big. The drug lords still rule over large sections of the community and it is still very dangerous. Love Futebol had recommended two deserving boys for us to surprise. Matteus is 7 and is glued to the ball. All day all night, in the house and outside he won't put his ball down. His older brother 19 year old Jean helped build the love futebol pitch by his home and together they were going to the final.
German fans were hard to come by - Rio had been overtaken by Argentinians and the majority of Germans didn't want to watch the final in the fans zones with so many opposing fans. We found our boys in a small German bar in Leme. Both young men who had traveled just to be in the same country as the World Cup. Happy to be in a bar on the beach never in a million years expecting to go to the final - these guys jumped and screamed and the whole beach applauded when they received their tickets. In a beautiful gesture of generosity one young man gave his ticket to his father.
Lastly surrounding the stadium are residential homes. We wanted two more football fans who live close to the stadium but never get to go inside. As these two men unlocked their front door they told me about how they felt Brazilians didn't have much chance of enjoying the World Cup, that prices were too high but that they understood it wasn't mean't to be for them and just wanted their country to throw the best party for all the foreign visitors. Little did they know they were going to the final.
All our guests enjoyed the game side by side. I found myself watching them almost as much as watching the match itself.
Germany took home their fourth World Cup after being the stronger team in the final and arguably the most consistent side thought the entire tournament.
Our Argentina fans turned to the camera and said "Thank you, it was a dream - not quite the perfect dream but a dream all the same. I will never forget this." Neither will I.
Watch their reactions as the fans are surprised with World Cup Final tickets: http://youtu.be/gQYracgXok4
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