In the first of a series of short listening reports about the 2014 World Cup we take a look at some of the fans.

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World Cup 2014In the first of a series of short listening reports that look back at the Brazil 2014 World Cup, we look at the fans’ experiences. You can listen to the report by clicking on the link above and can read the transcript of the report (below) where you will also find explanations of key vocabulary (in bold), as well as an online quiz.

World Cup 2014 Review: The Fans

Fan Fest in Recife
Fan Fest in Recife

Over 3 million fans attended the 64 matches that took place at the 12 different venues in Brazil – the second highest average attendance at a tournament after USA 1994. Millions of spectators also saw games at the FIFA Fan Fests – these are areas in the 12 World Cup cities where fans could watch the World Cup matches on big screens. Now, having travelled to Brazil for the first two weeks of the tournament, I was lucky enough to have been able to enjoy the noise, the colour and the atmosphere at both types of venues as well as enjoying the wonderful hospitality of the Brazilian host fans.

The Fans

Colombian Fans
Colombian Fans in Brasilia

Well, it makes sense now but when I first arrived in Brazil I was amazed at the huge numbers of travelling fans who had come from all around the Americas. I knew that there would be fairly large contingents of Japanese fans at games I was due to attend but I wasn’t quite prepared for the tens of thousands of fans who came to Brazil from Chile, Colombia, the USA and Mexico who filled the stadiums with their songs, chants, flags, banners and a footballing culture that up until then I had not been privileged to witness.

I watched, along with 20.000 of their cheering fans in Natal, the US snatch a last-gasp 2-1 win over Ghana and I sat with thousands of delirious Mexican supporters in Recife as they saw el Tri  qualify for the knock-out round after defeating Croatia 3-1. However, perhaps the best fan experience I had while in Brazil was at the Colombia-Ivory Coast game in the Estádio Nacional de Brasília Mané Garrincha, that’s in the country’s capital. Now, in a city full of architectural wonders, the stadium is one more amazing piece of construction which the Colombian fans proceeded to decorate in the yellow, red and blue of their national colours. There were almost 70.000 fans inside the ground and maybe half of them were supporting Colombia – the singing didn’t subside throughout the whole game – and Los Cafeteros went on to win 2-1 and qualify for the next phase.

Fan Fests

Solitary Cameroon Fan (Recife)
Fan Fest in Recife

The fan fests were set up to allow those without a ticket to sample the atmosphere of the World Cup by watching games on big screens. My first experience of these fan zones was in Recife in a part of town called Maca Zero down by the Capibaribe River – a truly wonderful setting. Now, it was day two of the tournament and Cameroon were due to face Mexico and I thought I would get there early to avoid the crowds. Maybe it was the hangover after Brazil’s opening day victory, the fact that the game was kicking off in the searing midday sun or simply that all the Mexican and Cameroon fans were already at the game in Natal because when I arrived, there was only a solitary Cameroon fan (see left) draped in his national flag watching the game and hardly anyone else.

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Later games in Recife’s Fan Fest did provide lots of wonderful atmosphere but the same could not be said of Salvador’s for despite being in an idyllic setting with views of the Atlantic Ocean, the huge TV screen was just  never switched on – and we never really did find out why not. Natal’s fan fest was situated about a kilometer from town on the beach and I ended up watching Spain lose to Chile there. It was by no means packed but the atmosphere was wonderful as the Chilean fans – some praying, others not daring to watch the screen – urged their team on to victory. When the final whistle blew, the World Cup holders were out and the Chileans were in heaven.

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attended: Went to the game (To attend)

venues: The places where the games took place (the stadiums)

the Americas: Here it refers to North, Central and South America

large contingents: Large numbers or groups

I had not been privileged to witness: I had never seen before

subside: Drop or decrease (the noise did not decrease)

Los Cafeteros: Nickname of the Colombian national team

snatch a last-gasp 2-1 win: To win at the end of the game

delirious: Very, very happy

el Tri: The nickname of the Mexican national side.

to sample the atmosphere: To enjoy or taste the atmosphere

the searing midday sun: Burning sun at 12:00

draped in his national flag: He was covered in the flag; he was ‘wearing’ the flag over his clothes

an idyllic setting: A perfect place (ideal)

It was by no means: Not really (not at all)

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