Salt Lake stadium gets Sao Paulo look for Brazil vs England
Kolkata: Salt Lake Stadium got a 'Sao Paulo makeover' submerged in a sea of yellow in support of their favourite team Brazil, even as they lost to England 1-3 in a one-sided FIFA Under-17 World Cup semifinal here on Wednesday.
Brazilians outnumbered the England fans but that did not matter to about 20-odd family members of the Young Lions, including their midfielder Emile Smith-Rowe as they made their first ever final of the U-17 World Cup.
Despite the semi-final being relocated in less than 48 hours' notice, the Kolkata fans did not disappoint the organisers, clocking an official attendance of 63,881 in the 66,687 capacity stadium.
A sell-out crowd was expected but with time constraints in tickets distribution, many fans especially who had come from Guwahati had to return disappointed.
Mahat Ali, a fan from Guwahati, said before the match: "I first came to the stadium gate but was told that I will get my ticket from Milan Mela ground. There also they refused me tickets and I'm not sure whether I would finally get to enter or not." People were seen lining up at the stadium since 1pm, two hours before the gates opened for the 5pm kickoff match, even as vendors selling ribbons, flags and painting flag colours made hay with all of those being bought like hot cakes. Jaideep Bag, a vendor, was a busy man and had already applied the flag colours' paint on more than 200 people with an hour to go for the match. "We have never seen such an atmosphere. Kolkata feels different today (Wednesday)," he said as Brazil flags and jerseys were going off the shelves for double their original prices or Rs 100 and 150 respectively.