Cuiaba; an experience like no other

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It’s hard to put into words how I am feeling after the Socceroos performance against Chile last night in Cuiaba. Like many other Socceroos fans, I woke up yesterday morning filled with hope and belief we could get a positive result.

The unpredictability of the World Cup was evident even before kickoff. We travelled to Cuiaba in a small charter plane which landed at an airport which was undeniably incomplete. To make matters worse, our bus to the stadium was delayed and stress levels began to rise as did the beer to calm the nerves. It was also a stressful moment after the game as I got lost and almost missed my bus to the airport.

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Nothing is certain in Brasil which is why this trip has been so exciting and spontaneous. Even before the match began, Socceroos and Chile fans marched in the thousands in an attempt to outdo each other. It was clear that Chile were the victors in this department.

It was amazing seeing such a large turnout of Socceroos fans at the game and is an indication of where football in Australia is heading. For the first half of the match, I found that my seat was surrounded with 20,000 Chile fans. Listening to their national anthem was one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced as a football fan. Although the Chilean fans were intimidating, I didn’t stop singing and they appreciated my passion for my country.

I made my way down to level 1 and snuck into the Socceroos terrace where we sang until the final whistle. I am grateful I got to experience the emotion and feeling from both sets of fans rather than just sit in the one spot the whole game.

The atmosphere from start to finish sent chills down my spine and will be a game I will never forget. Both sets of fans were filled with extreme emotions in a game that could have swung both ways. Once again the true Australian underdog spirit showed, after going down 2-0 in the first 10 minutes. Super Tim was there to head home another goal and bring our boys back to life.

As a spectator it felt like the whole momentum began to turn and the Socceroos voices began to raise a few decibels. The noise levels of the fans definitely dictated the momentum of both teams throughout the game. E

ven after the game we didn’t stop singing which showed our true Australian character. Despite losing the game 3-1, our boys can walk off with their heads held high in a game where we were unlucky not to get a point. There was definitely a mutual respect between both sets of fans.

A touching moment for me was when a Chilean fan asked to swap his national flag with my Johnny Warren scarf. It was an honor to receive the flag and will be a moment that I will never forget. This is why football is the biggest sport in the World. One Passion, one love, Football.

Ari is on the ground in Brazil to cover the 2014 World Cup for The TURF.

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THE TURF