Chaos at Brazil v Ghana game
Cold, drizzly and windy. Not a very good night out in London, especially for a Monday. But for the thousands of Londoners who paid to watch Brazil play Ghana at Craven Cottage in West London, it got even worse.
Bad organisation at Fulham’s stadium’s ticket offices meant that almost 3 thousand supporters were kept outside, in the cold, trying to get their tickets while the game had long started. It got so chaotic that mounted police had to be called in to stop new supporters getting close to the stadium. Some people were kept in groups of hundreds for more than half an hour after the game had started. “This is insane, we haven´t seen anything like this in Fulham before”, a police officer told us.
“I was trying to get my ticket in the credit card pre-order line when a fight broke out”, said Maha Morato, an owner of a Brazilian restaurant in London. “There were people screaming and even women fighting. The police tried to get close, but it was difficult. I got in about 5 minutes before half time!”.
Big teeth is back
On the pitch, things were far from perfect as well. Brazil’s coach Mano Menezes tried a new formation, once again mixing old veterans like Júlio Cesar and Lúcio with young talent like Neymar and Leandro Damião, the game´s lone scorer. One of the highlights of the game was Ronaldinho’s come-back – it was only his second cap after being left out of the “seleção” for the World Cup in Africa.
And did Ronaldinho perform? Well he did hit the post with a free kick and managed a few of his old tricks (he tried hard for a goal straight from the corner, failing miserably!) but didn’t spark as a partner of Neymar, a target for many European clubs, who himself failed to show why he is one of the best paid footballers in Brazil’s national league.
Instead it was Leandro Damião, star of Internacional, one of the biggest teams in the South of Brazil, who caught the eye of European agents (there was talk of him signing for both Tottenham and Porto in the summer). Given a rare chance in the national team he ran as if the game was not just a friendly. Many will be impressed by his hunger for the ball and style of football that seems perfect for European football.
Pato, who played in Damião’s position for most of Brazil´s depressing campaign at the Copa America in July, watched most of the game from the sidelines, entering the pitch as a substitute when there was only 13 minutes remaining. The Milan striker did manage to hit a nice header, but Damião showed that he is a top contender for a position that the Brazil team has been desperate to fill since Big Ronaldo´s departure.
But apart from the one star performance, it was the public that put on an incredible display, chanting, singing and screaming, transforming the cold night into an amazing party atmosphere. It helps that London houses almost 200,000 people from Ghana and, by some estimates, 100,000 Brazilians.
In the end, it was another lacklustre performance from an uninspiring Brazilian team who played with one extra man for most of the game (Ghana´s Daniel Opare saw red after only 30 minutes of game) in their “home city” of London but without the organisation and infrastructure that the fixtures at the Emirates Stadium usually provide. It wasn`t even the kind of display that can keep a manager in his position for much longer (as many supporters hope). A lot needs to be changed to keep the dream of raising the World Cup in home soil in three years time.
BRASIL 1 x 0 GHANA
Words and photos by Pedro Schuman