And we’re off again! All of the 8 group winners are through to the quarterfinals for the first time ever.
The big story in Brazil yesterday was the collapse of an overpass under construction that tragically killed several people riding in the bus it fell on in Belo Horizonte, one of the host cities. Although there were many concerns about the quality of construction of the stadia, there has been little to worry about thus far and with only 8 matches remaining, these concerns seem unnecessary; touch wood.
Today’s early game is France vs Germany in Rio (31C, 100% Humidity, clear) at the Maracana. There are no concerns about this match. Typically, both countries have fans whom are reasonably well behaved. The later game is Brazil vs Colombia in Fortaleza (30C, 65%, clear). Security services have been put on standby in order to respond in case of a Brazilian loss, not only in Fortaleza, but throughout the country as well. The concern is the potential for wide scale rioting in the face of defeat as has been seen in a number of other cities including Vancouver after they lost the Stanley Cup finals.
Another exciting day on the pitch with Ghana’s stunning tie with three time tournament winners Germany. That game also saw the tournament’s first streaker or pitch-invader, but this only paused the match for less than a minute. Nonetheless, the media will remained focused on embarrassing FIFA by continually reporting the same stories with an added layer of butter. ABC news have written a good summary of how things have gone from an organisational point of view so far: here.
Sunday’s matches are mostly the unimpressive group H. The big game will be the USA vs Portugal, the former coming out a victory against Ghana who has knocked them out in the previous WC and the latter who were crushed by the Germans in the first match of the group stage. If the Americans win it will be the third giant slayed in the first 2 matches!
Today’s matches are in Rio De Janeiro (29C, 88% humidity, slight chance of rain), Porto Alegre (19C, 100% humidity, clear), and Manaus (29C, 89% humidity, good chance of rain (it is in a rain forest…)). If you’re going to the match in Rio, the police cordon has been significantly widened to avoid fans getting into the Maracana as has happened in the last two matches. FIFA will be making significant efforts to avoid further embarrassment, so get there early, as the subway station will be packed and the route from the subway station even more so.
FIFA have announced it plans to beef up security around the Maracanã in Rio following the attempted breach by 87 un-ticketed Chilean fans. This is will come in the form of an increased presence of security forces as there is insufficient time to appropriately enhance security infrastructure. Be aware that this may cause further delays to getting into matches as cordons may be widened and more ticket checks put in place.
Today’s matches are in Belo Horizonte (22C, 81% humidity, slight chance of rain in the afternoon), Cuiaba (31C, 88% humidity and clear), and Fortaleza (30C, 88% humidity, Rain early, not for game time).
There have been no major fan safety incidents reported over the past few days and most of the wrinkles that arose in the first days of the tournament have now been ironed out. That said, be aware that problems may flare up very quickly if protestors choose to march and get violent.
A reminder of previous advice: take a photo of your tickets so if they get stolen, you can show them to security and the thieves can be arrested in the stadium.