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Ives Galarcep

Influx of visitors already apparent in Sao Paulo

Tags: Sony Handycam ®, USA

450336922The customs line at the Sao Paulo airport is always busy, but on Tuesday morning a pair of men holding clipboards still made a point to ask every visitor the same questions. 

“Where are you from? Are you here for the World Cup?”

The answers were a steady stream of various locations. Japan, Canada, Spain, Mexico, Netherlands, USA. Fans from every corner of the earth flowed in and almost all of them had made their way here for a chance to see the World Cup.

For me, the nine-hour flight from New Jersey to Brazil was fairly smooth, though the decision to head straight for U.S. national team training, and drag all my luggage along, was anything but smooth.

The good news was that Jurgen Klinsmann’s press conference was delayed, which gave me a chance to attend. Klinsmann continued answering questions about his recent comments saying the U.S. can’t win the World Cup. He stuck to his guns, insisting that the team’s focus should be on advancing out of a very tough Group G, and if that happens, then the Americans can dream.

The U.S. team went through a light workout ahead of Wednesday’s closed-door scrimmage against Belgium, which is the team’s final preparation before the June 16 World Cup opener against Ghana in Natal. At least it was supposed to be before Belgium cancelled the scrimmage on Tuesday afternoon, with concerns about Sao Paulo’s heavy traffic apparently being the cause of the cancellation.

After training, a select number of players were made available for interviews. Among the highlights were Jermaine Jones admitting he wouldn’t celebrate if he scored against Germany, while Jozy Altidore insisting revenge isn’t a motivating factor in the U.S. team’s upcoming clash with Ghana, the same team that has eliminated the Americans from the past two World Cups.

The U.S. team doesn’t play until Sunday, but American fans have already started pouring into Brazil in numbers, and the cluster of fans that greeted the team at their training facility was just a small sampling.

Americans aren’t alone though. If the customs line at Sao Paulo was any indication, the flow of visitors to Brazil for the World Cup will be as diverse as it will be large.

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