I had my first “inside look” at the Olympics facilities on Saturday night as I attended the Brazil-Ghana women’s soccer match at Workers’ Stadium. The game determined the final qualifier for The Games.
Having neatly ironed the Ghana flag I diligently sourced for the 2006 World Cup, I arrived in the hope that my pennant would not fly alone. That hope was realized. There were dozens of flags – all of them carrying the colors of Brazil, which racked up five goals before Ghana saved a bit of dignity with a late tally. I have no proof, but I believe my team must have gone on a huge drinking binge the night before. You got lucky, Brazil.
In any case, a few “thumbs ups” and “thumbs downs” about the game.
Despite tickets priced as low as 20 kuai, the stadium was only one-third full.
Crowded into half of the stadium, the crowd oh-ed, ah-ed, booed, cheered and had a good time, with those in the nose-bleed sections getting “the wave” going.
The seats were dirty, some dabbled with white paint spots; some rows were 25 seats wide, which meant the guy on the end had to struggle past 24 other people.
Several attendees offered me newspaper pages on which to sit; people were polite about letting each other go by.
The nasty air, with not only visible haze, but also floating tree pollen.
The diligent could have stuffed a pillow with that pollen while they watched the game.
No timer on the score clock, making it hard to know when the game was close to ending.
Replays on the massive TV screen.
Save for the pollution (and the score), I enjoyed the game. The security guards at the gate were polite and efficient, the crowd had a good vibe, and the stadium looked good with its various sections of colored seats. I can only imagine how this stadium is going to rock when it is full!