Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tim Vickery in South America

A year ago, when the Soccerex trade fair came to Rio, I ended up taking some BBC bigwigs to a Brazilian league game - Botafogo against Internacional.

It was the penultimate round of the campaign and much was at stake. Botafogo badly needed a win to qualify for the Copa Libertadores, South America's Champions League equivalent, for the first time since 1996.

The stadium was half-full, with a crowd of 19,604, which surprised the visitors all the more when I explained that tickets were half-price in an attempt to pack as many in as possible.

Botafogo lost 2-1 and the home crowd probably hindered as much as it helped. My guests were amazed at how the home fans turned against their own team, picking out certain players for particularly vicious treatment.

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