I made my way to Natal on Friday evening, and it was a pretty smooth flight from Sao Paulo to Natal, a flight filled with Japanese fans as well as American fans. The process of passing through the airport in Sao Paulo, as well as landing and getting through Natal’s airport, were both smooth. Even finding a taxi from the airport in Natal to my hotel was easy at 2:oo in the morning.
My Saturday didn’t go quite as well as a stomach bug left me bed-ridden for the rest of the day. Luckily, I was able to follow the day’s matches on TV and could hear the Brazilian announcers screaming for all the great goals scored on Saturday. I suppose if there was a day to be stuck in bed sick it was Saturday, with heavy rains blanketing the city all day and night.
Sunday morning saw the sun appear and weather warm up. The U.S. team went through its final training session before Monday’s match, with Jurgen Klinsmann addressing the media in his usual playful mood. He poked fun at the journalists who didn’t ask questions in English and said he was happy to see the CONCACAF region get off to a 2-0 start.
U.S. fans are making their way to Natal in force, with a U.S. Soccer-sponsored party being held on Sunday evening expected to draw more than 3,000 U.S. fans making the trip. One local newspaper claimed that 20,000 Americans were converging on the area. That number sounds pretty ambitious, but there is a safe bet there will be more U.S. fans in the Natal Stadium on Monday than Ghanaian fans.
Just how much that helps the Americans remains to be seen, but one thing is clear. The atmosphere on Monday should be a special one, much as the game should be as well.