I went to a football game on Tuesday, and I must tell you all about it.
Ramble of the Day
The national teams of Iceland and Peru decided to show up at my local football specific venue, Red Bull Arena, so I decided to check it out. The short: I had a blast.
The Peruvian presence was visible from the moment I got off the train. They were lined up on a sidewalk a block away from the stadium, blowing their airhorns and singing as they waited for the match to start. I could feel the excitement of the crowd more as I got closer to the stadium. By the time Red Bull Arena was a photogenic backdrop, people were taking group pictures all over the place. People holding Iceland flags, at most three at a time, passed through the crowd with ease, but not without looking out of place.
Inside the arena, the sounds were amplified, and increasingly cohesive. The crowd warmed up by singing chants that they would eventually repeat later on. Nothing, of course, could match the National Anthem of Peru, sung by around 25,000.
My sisters and I went to the match with the intention of rooting for Iceland, because no one hates Iceland. It was quickly hard to hate Peru, too, as they opened scoring after three minutes in the goal that just so happened to be right in front of us. Chanting “Pe-ru!” with everyone around us was irresistible.
Midway through the first half, I remembered that Iceland fans also existed when I saw an Iceland fan nearby. I shouted “Iceland!” because I do not know what it is like to be in a crowd or how to socialize, which automatically upset the child who was blocking my view. “You’re supporting Iceland?,” he asked in a very disappointed tone. I felt bad, so I told him that I was rooting for everyone, which was not a lie. I do not know if he believed me, but he did eventually get out of my way.
The rest of the match saw more “Pe-ru!” chants, a couple of more Peru goals, and a man obsessed with the wave, known as the Mexican wave to some of you. There was a man several seats to my left that, by the time the 75th minute came around, wanted to recreate the strong wave of the first half. He popped out of his seat, swung his arms up, and shouted, “Uno, dos, tres!” to get the wave started. Each and every time, it did not work. He went from section to section to section trying to get it started to no avail. It enraged two young boys, no older than six, behind me. “What are you doing with your life? You’re wasting it!,” one of them said in English and Spanish. “You must stop!,” the other one insisted. One of them called the whole act “estupido,” Spanish for stupid.
I was basically entertained from the first moment to the last. I highly recommend going to a match in which you’re a neutral in a stadium with a terrific atmosphere, if at all possible.
tl;dr: I had fun at a football match and sat near a mean child.
Links of the Day
Paul Pogba and Ousmane Dembélé have accused fans in Russia of racially abusing them during Tuesday’s friendly against France. FIFA will investigate the claims.
Completely filling a Panini World Cup sticker book could cost £773 ($1,088).
Jamie Vardy knows absolutely nothing about VAR.
Today’s longer read: ESPN’s Chris Jones reveals what a Premier League medical looks like by undergoing one at Everton