Sunday, April 7, 2013

Tricolor! Tricolor! Tricolor!

I was actually planning on continuing with my Semana Santa series of travelogues today.. And then life kind of got in the way. But that's the beauty of it, so here we go with a post  on a completely unrelated topic: Soccer!

Now you are probably thinking "Again?!". And I can't blame you because I just blogged about that topic two posts ago. But then again it IS a very important subject here in Uruguay. 

And I haven't simply been to another soccer game. I was part of a new World Record! 

Now, here in Montevideo it seems that there are only two options for soccer clubs to support: Nacional or Peñarol. And since I have visited the stadium of Nacional with Pablo before, I kind of got directed into that direction of fandom. Additionally, I don't like the idea of suppporting a Club that has the colors black and yellow because it reminds me of the one German soccer club I like the least. And since I find Peñarol fans slightly too aggressive for my liking. So I decided for myself that I would go for Nacional. Go Tricolor! (another nickname as their colors are red, white and blue)

Even the sky showed Nacionals colors red and blue

And let me tell you, the Uruguay vs. Paraguay game was pretty much boring compared to the great atmosphere I experienced when Nacional played against Toluca, a team from Mexico in the Copa Libertadores. The South American version of the Champions League that is. 

First off, Pablo who was taking me to the game with his family and some friends picked me up at my place. Now normally that would be like a 20 min detour because Nacional's home stadium is close to my university here. But since the Nacional fans were planning to set a record that day, the game took place in Estadio Centenario which is bigger and more suitable for the record that they wanted to break. And it is pretty much right next to my place so no detours.

Of course for such an occasion I couldn't go without any fan gear. And luckily Pablo and his Family are like the biggest Nacional fans which means he had some spare jerseys, one of which I could wear to the game so that I was properly dressed up to be part of a world record in the making.


Now, what was this world record about? 

For about one and a half years Nacionals fans crafted a giant fan banner that they were going to unfold and that was going to cover almost all the fans. So for that purpose it wasn't just big, it was gigantic! The official measurements are 600x50 meters but I suppose you can't picture how big that really is. I'll try to give you a mental picture because the helicopter that was supposed to fly over the stadium and take pictures of the whole thing got sabotaged and couldn't take off. So picture this: the flag came all the way down the tribunes and went all the way round three quarters of the stadium. Only one tribune out of four was not covered by  the flag. And we're talking about Uruguay's biggest soccer stadium that holds about 65,000 people. And that is only slightly less than what fits into stadiums like Munich's Allianz Arena!

Check out this website for more infos and pictures.

 And my personal favorite -  the 360 degree interactive picture of the fans (without banner). Can you spot me? 

Now the unfolding happened twice, once before the game to greet the players when they entered the field, and once during the halftime. And both times it was a lot of fun! And in between there was of course the game which I think was pretty good as well.

This (smallest) tribune was the only part of the stadium that was not covered by the banner..

...but all of this was covered with the flag was this part
(which looks empty because the picture was taken pretty early on)

...and of course we were covered as well!

Obviously, Nacional had a pretty good motivation to give their all since they have the most amazing fans who spent one and a half years crafting a gigantic flag. So unsurprisingly they won. And they didn't just win barely. They scored four times and ended with a result of 4:0! Quite impressive I'd say.

Penalty and  GOOOOOOL!!

And the atmosphere was just overwhelming and there were a lot of fun different fan chants. My favorite was "Poropopo poropopo el que no salta es de Peñarol!". Which translates to "Poropopo poropopo  the one who doesn't jump is from Peñarol!". Which is practically the worst thing to be. And so while singing that you have to jump. Because obviously you don't want to be associated with Peñarol.

And my absolute highlight was a little boy who sat in front of us. He was completely into the game and his facial expressions just cracked me up everytime. So hilarious and so expressionate. Unfortunately it was impossible to catch with the camera so a back-view must do.

This little man pretty much made my day

Altogether the game was pretty spectacular and I did not for one minute regret skipping class in order to go to the game. But at least I wasn't the only one because Pablos's sister missed her class as well. I'd say it's a matter of priorities and Lucía and I definitely have ours straight.

The truants

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