Fans Friendly: Belo Horizonte
England’s early kick off time against Costa Rica meant that the fans friendly activities in Belo Horizonte were scheduled for the day prior to the game on the 24th June, the same day that Brazil faced Cameroon in their final group game. Around fifty England fans met up at the Praça do Papa square in the Mangabeiras neighbourhood of the City. We were met by organiser Tom Gatehouse and after a short walk we arrived at the Papa Parque da Serra, Belo’s equivalent of Table Mountain. Located at the South of the City the Parque da Serra gives stunning views over Belo Horizonte.
Our guide spoke excellent English and was able to point out prominent city landmarks including the Mineiro stadium which would host England’s final group game, the dead-rubber against Costa Rica. Our tour was accompanied by a TV crew from Globo, Brazil’s largest TV channel, who were interested to add another angle to their World Cup coverage and show the interaction between England fans and the Belo Horizonte locals.
Following the tour our group jumped on a coach for the short ride to Savassi, a lively area of Belo which is home to many of the Cities bars and restaurants. After a short stop at the Praça da Liberdade one of the cities most picturesque squares our party made our way to the Chalé Mineiro restaurant. The restaurant operates on the ‘pay per kilo’ concept whereby food is weighed up at the end of your trip to the buffet and charged depending on how indulgent one has been!
From the restaurant we were guided again by Tom to a local bar to meet some local Brazilian fans to watch their final group game against Cameroon. Brazil is famed for their love of football and watching Brazil play whilst in Brazil is a priviledge that I’m sure every England fan will remember for a long time to come. With Brazil victory sealing their place as group winners the party got started and both set of fans enhoyed their Caipirinhas well on into the night.