Landed Rio via Newcastle to Heathrow then Madrid yesterday; to find our hillsideAntonFamily

accommodation is between two favelas; which worries our cab driver but was quite a pleasant aspect by the next morning. July 4 sees us get a cab to the Maracana after a long easy breakfast till 11. I had hoped to see the USA on their special day, as have yank in-laws; but was not to be. Our Rio base is 20 mins away from the Maracana, through what seems like a nice favela.

Today was like Christmas morning for me. I have been dying to bag the Maracana for years; and this became a ‘must see’ World Cup – not that it wasn’t already.

The walk up is chocca, very hot and busy as we wander along the high level walkways to the Level 3 access. No obvious sign of touts at the Metro Station or anywhere so my Final ticket deal will have to wait. Shame, but if Brazil lose to Columbia it might be a good thing for a lower price (they don’t). Loads of ticket checks by heavily armoured military heavies. No chance of squeezing anyone through a la in Japan in ’02.

The ground is amazing, huge and very light. Big, well spaced, comfortable seats and you can drink at your seat. 2 beers, 2 cokes, 2 choccy and 2 big bags Japones (peanuts) just RS68 = 20 quid. Not bad. Brazil shirts every where. Same as the whole of Rio I have seen. A sprinkling of French and German; slightly more of latter. We are about 6 rows from back but that still means we have a great view and we can also truly appreciate the size and roundness of the place.

The game itself should have been wider and more open due to the early German goal. However the French never really got into a stride and disappointing (again) performances from Benzema (poor, like Jason Lee poor) and Cabaye (played deeper than an East 17 hit) and general lack of zip, punch and speed meant the game never gave us a second goal.

Deboosh did little to enhance his value.

The French went out with a whimper and ze Krauts, unsurprisingly, make ANOTHER semi-final.

The wander from the ground was low key and friendly. With us four all in Newcastle tops we get plenty of banter; all nice. Having my 6yo daughter Zoe and 4yo son Dexter, and wife Claire ensures soft touch from all.

A great experience; as was the street party Alzirao which was a 30 minute walk

away to see Brazil v Columbia. Due to the b/w stripes we get plenty of attention as EVERYBODY else is in yellow with green trim.

I do an extended interview with Nigerian telly and wax on about our love for Shola. It might also appear on ITV; apparently.

The atmosphere is friendly and hypo. They win. That helps. This is just an ace place to enjoy footy; and they are not bad at it either.

If I can get a paw on a Final ticket I’ll post again.

Now to try and find Milton!