Justin Cook's World Cup Diary - Day 11
I arrived into São Paulo and was picked up by my friend Luiz. I was staying at his house in the Vila Madalena area of the city. I slept and awoke for judgement day... England versus Uruguay.
I had managed to score a full corporate hospitality ticket for the game through a business contact in the UK. I made my way over to meet Benni to get the ticket and grab a ride over to the stadium.
I must admit i felt pretty nervous about the game considering the Italy performance but held it in.
Benni and I drove over to the stadium and entered. The energy of the place was amazing and the tension palpable. We found our entrance and went in.
Wow,this was pretty plush, I thought: a sushi bar, salmon and chicken bar, full bar and comfy seating with an entrance onto our seating block. We had a few drinks and took our seats.
The teams came out and simply put it felt like we were going to war as the noise from the Uruguay fans was immense and the English fans, I am afraid, were drowned out. Simply put, it felt like the Uruguay fans wanted it more and had the bigger heart for this game.
Maybe us English have had too many disappointments over the years at major tournaments and its quietened our voice. The game started well and was pretty balanced and Rooney looked nearly at full fitness and again Jagielka looked a yard short, it was really worrying.
It was about three minutes or so to half time and you just sensed that something bad was going to happen.
Just as I thought please don't let them score before half time, 20 seconds later Suarez lost his man (Jagielka) and rifled it in. My heart dropped but it had been coming this goal for a while.
Half time and we were in the bar and I was trying to put a brave face on it but I was feeling hollow and hoping that England could get back into this game.
The second half started and the stadium was rocking and the Uruguay fans were stamping their feet making the whole stadium rumble. It felt like the final, and not a group game, such was the intensity in the place.
Five minutes before the end Rooney scored his first World Cup goal by bundling a cross in on the goal mouth. I must have cheered at the top of voice for about a minute. Then the English defence crumbled again as the Uruguay goal keeper kicked a ball that was allowed to carry all the way down to Suarez who made no mistake in securing his second goal of the night and ultimately confirmed England's demise.
I made my way back to the bar and met with Benni and some of his friends. They were very sweet and supportive as I think they must of sensed I was gutted. We said our goodbyes and I made my way to the Metro outside the stadium. I felt turned inside out and so down.
It was over and although a slim chance remained, that light was extinguished when Costa Rica beat Italy on Friday.
I want to dedicate this blog to the fans who made it out to Brazil and the effort they made in their costumes and good will towards all the different footballing nations and their fans, it made me really proud even after the game how they hung out and took photos with the young kids from Brazil and Uruguay and this really made me feel good.
I even met one guy from Manchester who had broken his hand a week before he was due to fly out and had major surgery pinning his hand together and still made it out. I asked him if his hand hurt and he relied yes but it was worth it - total dedication.
Concerning the English team we have a great pool of talent in Barkley, Chamberlain, Sterling, Sturridge and Shaw. Jones, Cahill, Jagielka, Rooney, Gerrard however are past their peak and need to be replaced.
I am glad I came and witnessed the occasion, as its been great. Not sure if I am heading down to the final England game as I just don’t have the heart and would rather head back up to Bahia to the sun and ocean as it is very cold and rainy down here in São Paulo.
Thanks for following my blog and I hope it gave you a sense of Brazil and its people and places.