Home Advantage?

There is nothing quite like singing for one of your own.

For those of you who follow a football team or any sporting team I am sure you agree that seeing one of your club’s homegrown players do well fills you with a sense of pride.

On a larger scale if we think back to London 2012 and to that magical evening of 'Super Saturday', one of the reasons why it was extra special was because we, as Brits, witnessed sporting success on our own turf.

Watching Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford win gold for Great Britain, in Great Britain was a moment we will never forget. For those who were lucky enough to be inside the stadium that night it would have been electric.

Here in Rio de Janeiro, four years later, I have already been fortunate enough to sample the home crowd atmosphere and it was better than I could have anticipated.

On Saturday, day one of the Olympics, we had tickets to boxing in the morning and football in the evening. Both events (I find it strange to call football an ‘event’) featured Brazil.

I know us Brits have a friendly rivalry with our Australian friends but even I felt a bit of sympathy for Eric Jason Whateley as he walked out for his fight at the Riocentro Arena.

Whateley was up against Brazilian, Juan Nogueria, and as he entered the ring the crowd treated him like a pantomime villain. Boos and whistles rained upon him from all sides.

Compare that to Nogueria’s welcome. The Paulista (born in Sao Paulo) was greeted not just as a Brazilian but one of Rio’s own. The arena erupted as he strode into the ring, people stomping their feet, banging their seats, singing his name. The place was alive and kicking.

Poor Eric Whateley, this was just not his show. Every jab, hook and block made by Nogueria was met with a cacophony of noise. He responded. Seeing off Whateley 3-0. As the judges announced their verdict the home crowd went bonkers, Nogueria went bonkers, it was pure home-made passion. This is what it's all about, I thought.

What came next however took the atmosphere at the boxing to a whole new level. Next stop was the Olympic Stadium to see Brazil take on Sweden in the women’s football.

It is common knowledge that Brazilians love their football. It is one of their great passions. Their men’s and women’s teams are gold medal hopefuls but even with this at the back of my mind I was still not exactly sure what to expect.

After all the last time I had watched a game of football featuring Brazil with Brazilian fans, they had lost 7-0 to Germany during the 2014 World Cup.

As we approached kick off the stadium was a sea of yellow. Youngsters were jumping around excitedly, ready to see some of their heroes, everyone seemed to be there.

Speaking to those around us it was obvious that women’s football was not just a sideshow, it has a big following and they were excited. Especially as Brazil’s golden girl and captain, Marta Vieira da Silva (Marta), was playing.

When the teams walked out the noise was like a cup final. You could sense the anticipation of the crowd. They wanted a big result. The national anthem was sung with gusto and carried on as the teams had their pre match photo.

I just wanted to take it all in, it is not often you get to experience these kind of nights.

The game itself could not have gone any better for Brazil. They played with flair and imagination. Marta, the mercurial number 10, ran the show. Scoring two goals and producing some sublime moments of skill. The crowd lapped it up. There were people dancing in the aisles as Brazil ran out 5-1 winners.

People say this a lot about events in Brazil but I am not exaggerating or lying by saying the evening was just pure carnival. It was fun, exciting, loud and passionate.

What made it even more extraordinary was both these events, the boxing and football, were just the preliminary rounds. There were no medals at stake here as the Brazilian fans chanted and danced their way out of the stadium.

There is nothing quite like singing for one of your own.

Andy Bloss is one of our English language producers helping Tom Ellis to gather material from around Rio during the Olympics. He was part of the Passion for Sport team during the 2014 FIFA World Cup and, in this blog, he comments on his experiences of his return to Rio.