RIO DE JANEIRO —
Fans from around the globe have congregated on the world-famous Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro to celebrate the 2014 World Cup tournament. It's a great time to be a fan at the biggest soccer party of the year.
Even though the skies are cloudy, that doesn't stop thousands of soccer fans from all over the world.
Most are wearing their countries' jerseys. Cheers erupt spontaneously from one group of fans. Next to them, supporters from rival countries chant. Some fans kick around a soccer ball, while others enjoy the famous white sands of Copacabana.
This is the World Cup in the country that is most passionate about soccer.
Vincent Brughuis is from Holland. He’s here to watch his team play today. “We just got the feeling now, so it’s nice. We watched last night at a small bar on the beach, so I thought for this event, Holland playing, we would watch here,” he said.
Ruffin Tanner is an American, but he’s rooting for Spain. “Everyone has been so friendly. The first night, I ate with four Austrian guys. Today I ate lunch with nine Argentineans. I came here alone, and everyone has been so friendly with me,” said Tanner.
Fans from Argentina are expected to make up the largest percentage of international travelers to Brazil. Tens of thousands of them already have made the short trip across the border. Lionel is one of them. He’s confident in Argentina’s chances to win the World Cup.
“I have faith. I always have faith. Especially with [Lionel] Messi,” he said.
Another man from Istanbul decided who he would root for on the plane ride over. “Yesterday, I arrived, and I met a huge Bosnian group on the plane. So I’m hanging out with them. We have a historical connection, as well, so this is my team at the moment. I’m supporting Bosnia,” he said.
He said being here in Rio is the culmination of a life-long dream. “I love football. I just wanted to make one childhood dream correct and valid [come true]. All my kid years, I was dreaming to watch these organizations in the place… now I’m in Brazil. I love football. I love all these people from all over the world,” he said.
The party will continue here on Copacabana Beach until the World Cup ends on July 13.