On November 14th students and staff enjoyed a memorable trip to watch the national football team take on the ‘Boys from Brazil’. It was Brazil’s first game in England since 2013 and everyone was excited to see Neymar and co. in the flesh.
The mini bus set off at around 2 pm in dry but chilly conditions. A clear road accompanied the melodic music of choice within the bus and, after a short refreshment break at the services, we arrived in the Wembley area at around 6.30 pm. A brief walk was required to get to the stadium itself. We all enjoyed seeing the stadium up close and revelled in the atmosphere that danced around its exterior. This excitement was added to further by the raucous and jubilant Brazilian fans. Donned in green, the South American fans played the familiar samba beat around the stalls and walkways that surround the iconic stadium.
On entrance to the stadium the anticipation swelled and, with the first glimpse of the magnificent playing surface, many of us were temporarily dumb-struck. The sight of 85,000 people and the spectacle of colour that this created was enough to make the biggest football fan shiver. After finding our seats, we were informed of the team news. The Brazilian fans went crazy at even the utterance of Neymar’s name over the loud speaker.
The National Anthems were greeted with great respect by all and finally the game kicked off.
The first half was a cagey affair with Brazil having most of the possession and England defending stoutly; restricting the opportunities for the flair-filled Brazilians from creating any clear-cut chances. Neymar had a few long-range shots and England had a Marcus Rashford shot saved. The half ended goalless.
The half-time entertainment finished and everyone found their seats ready for the second half. Everyone hoped for a more open half and this is exactly what we got. England, still defending well, ventured forward more and this created more space for Brazil to defend. A swell of support grew inside the stadium and the sight of 50,000 English flags being waved in unison is one that will stay with us forever.
Brazil created some good opportunities that were well dealt with by in-form Joe Hart and England nearly nicked the game in the dying seconds. The game finished 0-0.
We left Wembley with a small sense of disappointment in the lack of goals but with an overarching sense of awe. The journey back was a tired and lengthy one. However, it gave each of us the time to reflect on what an enjoyable experience it was and to speculate on England’s chances in next year’s World Cup.
These pictures and more appear in The Gallery.