Rio braces for fan frenzy

2014-07-11 08:42
Argentina celebrate (AFP)

Rio de Janiero - Rio de Janeiro braced Thursday for up to 100 000 Argentine fans arriving by car, bus and motor-home for the World Cup final against Germany at the iconic Maracana Stadium.

Argentina had already sent the biggest contingent of fans to Brazil during the month-long tournament, flooding cities to follow their hero Lionel Messi's team, even though many have not even had tickets to the games.

Tens of thousands who were in Sao Paulo for Wednesday's semi-final triumph against the Netherlands hit the road the next day for the six-hour trek across the southeastern region ahead of Sunday's final.

They were joining others who have been in Rio for days already, anticipating their team's triumph while camping out at the Terreirao do Samba, an open-air concert venue now packed with cars, minibuses and motor-homes.

Since that venue is full, authorities are offering to house the newcomers nearby at the Sambadrome, the arena that normally hosts Rio's sensual and colorful Carnival parade. Police want to prevent a repeat of them setting up camp on Copacabana.

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