Gerard Dunphy called the atmosphere in Brazil during the recent World Cup “magical.”
“It’s unbelievable,” said the St. Lawrence native, who along with his 22-year-old son Fergus, spent two weeks in the host country.
“The heart and soul of Brazil is soccer. When you are there you can feel it. Half of the country shuts down, especially when Brazil is playing. You can hardly find a restaurant that’s open during those games.”
Dunphy, the managing director of Viking Supply Ships for North America, said he doesn’t have a favourite soccer team.
“I support football,” he says.
Dunphy did enter a pool “for the fun of it” and picked Argentina to go all the way, mainly because Lionel Messi is his favourite player.
“I consider him the best player in the world,” he said, but added that he’ll cheer a great goal no matter who scores.
As just about everyone on the face of the planet knows, Germany defeated Argentina 1-0 for the championship.
But any outcome is secondary to Dunphy.
“It’s the game,” he said. “It’s the world-class players. It’s the stage. I’ve been following the World Cup all my life.”
He went to four games, including ones involving England, Uruguay and Netherlands and Argentina.
Dunphy, who got back from the World Cup 10 days ago, said the tickets were not that expensive and varied from $250 to $350.
“The minute the seats became available in the lottery, I applied online back in October and I picked Sao Paulo.”
He also spent time at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, where thousands of soccer fans gathered during the World Cup to party and watch games on big screens.
“It was called the FIFA Fan Fest,” said Dunphy about the event for fans without tickets, one that included 12 venues and drew hundreds of thousands ,
“I’ve been very fortunate to see some of the best players in the world at a couple of World Cups now,” he said.
“The world goes to these tournaments to party and enjoy life and they do it in a fun spirit.”
Dunphy, who also attended the 2006 World Cup in Germany, says he’s already thinking about going to Russia for the next World Cup in 2018.
“Russia is OK, but Qatar (2022) doesn’t have a whole lot of interest for me, but it’s still eight years away, so…”
Meanwhile, Dunphy said with a laugh that he’s contemplating taking in the UEFA European Championship scheduled for two years in France since he’s having so much fun at the major events.
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