Costa Rica vs. Greece…who would’ve guessed?

Inside the Arena Pernambuco
Inside the Arena Pernambuco

When we originally made our plans, we were really stoked about staying in Recife long enough to catch a Round of 16 match between the winner of Group D and the runner-up for Group C.  With England, Italy, and Uruguay all being in Group D, it was guaranteed to be a match worth seeing, despite the fact they would be playing against a weak group.  But Group C had the Ivory Coast, so we kept our fingers crossed that we might catch Drogba in inevitably his last appearance on the international stage.  But what happened?  England didn’t show up at all, Italy couldn’t get anything going (only against England), and Uruguay couldn’t dig itself out after getting annihilated in the first game without Suarez.  So lucky us, this exciting matchup turned out to be between Costa Rica and Greece.  Between the two teams, I can’t say that I know a single player.  But it was the World Cup and every game had the potential to be exciting!

Funny wooden chickens in all sorts of "outfits" strewn all over Porto de Galinhas
Funny wooden chickens painted in all sorts of “outfits” strewn all over Porto de Galinhas
While the literal translation for Porto de Galinhas means "Port of Chickens," the real meaning behind it was tied to the town behind a hub for slavery.
While the literal translation for Porto de Galinhas means “Port of Chickens,” the real meaning behind it was tied to the town being a hub for slavery.  Slaves were smuggled into the country on ships filled with chickens and “the chickens are here” quickly became the codeword for traffickers.

Of course, there were no issues getting to the stadium today – mostly because we were prepared this time.  We took the bus to the airport, went through the drill of taking two metros to the stadium, and got to the gates with plenty of time to spare.  Much of this was also due to the fact that the weather was great, so everything was running normally, but also that there were slightly fewer fans who came out.  However, for such a small country, I was impressed with how many Costa Ricans actually showed up to the game (and in a big way!).  The Greeks, on the other hand, had a tiny little dedicated section in the stadium and really weren’t vocal at all.  The biggest contingency was actually the Brazilians, who had discounted tickets and were just rooting for an exciting game.  We sat through the entire regulation of the game, nearly dying of boredom, after having seen one Costa Rican goal and one subsequent Costa Rican send-off.  Both of which I technically missed because I was in the bathroom.  We were ready to end the game and get a head start home when, in the 91st minute of regulation, Greece scored.  I guess this makes up for us missing half the other game!  We sat through a painful, scoreless 2 OT’s and then it was penalty kick time.  After our end of the goal got jilted for the other (more impartial) goal, we watched the shootout go to 5-3 (bad Greek goalkeeping) and end in a Costa Rican victory.

Outside Arena Pernambuco
Outside Arena Pernambuco
Costa Rican PK
Costa Rican PK
Victory!
Victory!
Ole, ole ole ole...ticos!  Ticos!
Ole, ole ole ole…ticos! Ticos!

Four hours later, back in Porto de Galinhas, we were exhausted but hungry, so we stopped by a cute spot right by the water with live music called Na Rua Bistro.  It was at this point where we caved and ordered pizza – we were craving carbs of some sort and the pizzas here actually looked really good – so we stuck around for a “quick” bite over some more caipirinhas before we called it a night.

Brazilian pizza
Brazilian pizza

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