12 June, Croatia – ‘All Over The Place – Europe’
I honestly think we were in the second best place to be in the world last night. After a lazy day off in the hotel the rest of the crew of ‘All Over The Place’ and I headed down to the 2,000 year old Roman coliseum in Pula for the Brazil v Croatia World Cup opening match. We arrived nice and early to watch the sun setting behind the ancient arches and supped our drinks as the stadium gradually filled up with excited but surprisingly restrained Croatians, music thumping out under the voices of two over enthusiastic local radio DJs.
The place was looking close to its 20,000 people capacity as the match kicked off, and in what seemed no time at all the entire coliseum erupted with joy as Croatia scored the first goal, flares going off in all directions. As a fairly impartial viewer I felt very sorry for them as the game went on and decisions seemed very heavily weighted in Brazil’s favour. With all the FIFA scandals recently there was a lot of muttering about how convenient it was for the host team. The place began to thin out during the last 10 mins, and as we made our way home afterwards we were impressed by how noble the Croatians were in defeat. No drunk people kicking bins or shouting angrily about how they’d been cheated. The Croatians we chatted to just shrugged their shoulders and said “We won”. I certainly felt they did.