Monday, 28 March 2011
Bananaman - BRA 2 - 0 SCO
Banana aside, there was absolutely no other indication of any racist behaviour from the fans. Neymar has said he was getting booed throughout the game, especially during the penalty, but that wasn't in protest against his colour - it was against his theatrics. If any player had corkscrewed to the floor like that after the merest of taps, they would have also been booed.
The racism row has left a sour taste in the mouth of what was a good natured match with supporters of both teams mingling without problems. In fact getting off the tube at Arsenal threw us into a cup final atmosphere, with singing from both sides, samba drums, fancy dress and lots of laughing. It was great.
Just before the national anthems, Brazilian legend Ronaldo was introduced to the fans and got a great reception. Considering the guy is only a month older than me and has played professional football for the last 20 years or so - he looked bloody terrible. No wonder he's retired.
On the top tier a Brazillian band had managed to gain access and played throughout the game - it was so loud that it mainly drowned out the crowd, which was a bit of a shame, but combined with the sunshine did lend a bit of a carnival atmosphere. I didn't want to use the term, but it sums it all up perfectly.
The game, in comparison, was rather flat. Brazil's play was reminiscent of Barcelona's in that they put pressure on the player with the ball until they make a mistake, which given they were playing a jittery Scotland happened quite often. In fact this gave the Scottish players the chance to show their full array of last ditch tackles and Brazil pressed and pressed. When the opening goal did come, it was courtesy of an exquisite finish by Neymar, the boy with a haircut so ridiculous that even Beckham wouldn't try it. It was sort of a cross between a mohawk and a mullet. Scotland had come close with a header from a set-piece that went narrowly wide, but that was all.
Second half was much like the first, apart from a five minute period around about the hour mark when Scotland were actually pressing and won a few corners and got a couple of shots on target without troubling Cesar in goal. But 5 minutes was all it lasted and Brazil got their second and should have probably got their third and fourth, Chelsea's Ramirez being particularly wasteful.
Even after the match, the Tartan Army was still managing to have a laugh. In the pub we were in there was a bit of traffic on the side road alongside, so fans were laughing, joking and singing with the drivers as they waited to get out of the junction. It was all good, until the headlines this morning.