Carrie Serwetnyk: World Cup massacre


RIO DE JANEIRO – Unbelievable! Shocking. Open mouth and fit in a football – 7-1 Germany over Brazil!

Did any octopi out there guess this?

Such a massacre would be like the U.S. beating Canada by double digits in hockey. If your kid were on the team, would you suggest another sport? Softball?


Fans crushed together with high expectations for Brazil to win the World Cup. (Carrie Serwetnyk)

I went to the Fan Fest but it was already at full capacity and police had barricaded the entrance. On the exterior near the shoreline, you could see the screen and hear the commentating.

Outside the Fan Fest is the wild west zone where the locals sell the highest concentration of booze. Like the smoking section at high school, it’s the hood where the brazen badass kids go to have a good time.

There is a higher dose of testosterone and is somewhat lawless. A dealer offered me pot. Folks brave the onslaught of waves to piss at half time.

Lawn chairs are rented and vendors walk around with little BBQ’s to cook chicken, wieners and cheese. This was supposed to be a party.

We should have known it. In the distance, a fierce black cloud came hovering over the horizon waiting to pounce. It had already poured earlier to prepare us for the onslaught. We hoped we were off the hook.


The winds picked up as a storm prepared to wipe out the World Cup party for Brazil. (Carrie Serwetnyk)

1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5

At one point I counted to see if the Germans had more men on the field.

This was as bad as it gets, like your best friend taking off with your bride-to-be before the wedding.

Scores like this were likely found in places like the Grenadines, the Solomon Islands or Canada against Honduras during World Cup qualifying rounds – not the host nation that has already raised the trophy five times.

I was plotting my escape route. I didn’t know when the chairs would be flying. We were all concerned about a potential riot. My Vancouver family were at a different outdoor screen just up the beach and told me they went running with the crowd around thirty-five minutes into the game. Someone heard gunshots and it started a stampede. They watched the execution in a bar.

But everyone in my neighbourhood just looked on in disbelief. Some left early, others were waiting to be pinched. We hung on hoping for at least a goal.

A man grabbed my arm with my camera in it and held on until I tapped a policeman on the shoulder and pointed.


A fan laughs in disbelief as Germany scores another goal. (Carrie Serwetnyk)

Then the rain started lightly. Most of us remained. It was a bit like those drive-by accidents that you don’t mean to slow down at and stare, but we couldn’t help ourselves. Could it possibly get any worse?

Pockets of group conversations started. Perhaps they were preparing funeral arrangements. So many eyes were full of tears.

Minor fights broke out but the riot police squashed them quickly. A helicopter with a light beam hovered over us as a threat.

The rain worsened and we meandered out with the police lining the route.

On the streets the dancers and artists packed their gear and sadly headed home – no samba tonight. A few scores of fans mockingly cheered like they had won.


Police donned ponchos to prepare for the onslaught of rain that walloped Rio. (Carrie Serwetnyk)

The police were now wearing ponchos. Last I saw, they were running onto the beach to chase down a kerfuffle.

I heard a man screaming to a camera after the match, “they were heartless, they played without passion, they are just a bunch of rich millionaires who didn’t care.”

It started to pour.

A group of drunk barefooted men embarked on a pick-up game along a side street.

I passed by a bar and a group of Brazilians asked me if I was German. No, I was cheering for you. I’m Canuck. I showed them my green and yellow war paint and they hugged me. Ok, we like you now.

I heard German fans were asked to wait in the stadiums so police could escort them out. The Brazilians will be facing the firing squad.

I hopped on a bus and the rain worsened so much that I missed my stop. By the time I was walking down the sidewalk, the water was knee-deep. I hurt my ankle a little leaping over a mass puddle not knowing there was the edge of the curb I was landing on.

The streets were deserted. Any prospects of a riot were washed away – along with the tears.


A car was crushed during last night’s rain storm in Rio de Janeiro. (Carrie Serwetnyk)

Like the Seleção flattened and defeated, Brazil will wake up to the most humiliating loss in World Cup history. They will wish it were a bad dream.

The cachaca will only be a temporary answer.

Hopefully Neymar has some extra painkillers to pass around to his teammates.

Vancouver’s Carrie Serwetnyk is the first female inductee to the Canuck Soccer Hall of Fame, a former national team member, founder of and now attending her seventh straight FIFA World Cup. Serwetnyk’s trip to Brazil is sponsored by and the B.C. Government Employees Union.

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