From Westport to Rio: World Cup fever runs rampant

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Cooper Boardman and Jimmy Ray Stagg

Data from FIFA.com Made using easel.ly

Cooper Boardman, Staff Writer

Hailed as one of the single greatest sporting events in the entire world, the World Cup headed to Brazil this past summer.  Of  32 teams, Germany emerged victorious, but the passion and love for the game of soccer reverberated throughout each country.

A multitude of Staples students experienced the World Cup not just in America, but also in countries throughout the world.

Luca Cocito ’17 was one of over 3 million people who attended the World Cup, including the thrilling elimination game on June 28 between host nation Brazil and neighbor Chile.  Brazil won the game 1-1 (3-2) on penalty kicks .

“It was probably the best experience I’ve had in my life,” Cocito said, and then added, “just the feeling of being part of the match.”

Cocito had the unique experience of seeing the tournament through the eyes of a Brazilian while watching games with friends and family in Sao Paulo.

“Watching the games [in Brazil] was incredibly fun even when we weren’t in the stadiums… every time a team scored, you could hear people screaming from everywhere.”

Nick Ribolla ’16 also traveled to Brazil and echoed Cocito’s thoughts: “If you added up all the fan bases in America for basketball, baseball, football, and hockey, it still wouldn’t be as big of a deal as soccer is in Brazil.  When there’s a game, you watch.  No questions asked.  There’s almost a religious love and respect and pride for the game.”

Emily Porter ’17 observed the World Cup final in a village located in the Manu National Forest, Peru, not far from the soccer-crazed nation of Argentina.

“It was a big deal, Argentina is close and the locals loved soccer,” Porter said.

This remote area, known largely for its bird watching, was suddenly transformed into a soccer mecca.

Porter huddled around a small television along with the locals to watch the final.  Porter recalled, “When Messi screwed up a free kick, they were mad, and when they lost, the locals were so mad they didn’t say anything and left.”

In Berlin, Josephine Freeman ’16 awoke at 3 AM when German fans honked car horns all over the city in celebration of a win.  Thousands of people attended festivals that included humungous screens for fans to watch the games.

“Every German is crazy about the cup,” said Freeman, “It was really fun.”