This Saturday (5 July) at 1 PM, Argentina and Belgium face off for a place at the last four at the Mané Garrincha National Stadium (Brasília). The quarter-finals match is the World Cup's 60th, and the sixth played at the Brasília arena. Brasilia's last participation in the World Cup will be for the third place match, on 12 July, at 5 PM.
This Friday (4 July), while more than 200 million fans across Brazil prepared their spirit for the Seleção's match against Colombia in the quarterfinals, the Argentine and the Belgian trained at the stadium for tomorrow's bout. From late morning to mid-afternoon, both teams held their pre-match training sessions at the Mané Garrincha while coaches Alejandro Sabella (Argentina) and Marc Wilmots (Belgium) offered press conferences.
Sabella did not anticipate his line-up for the match. He extolled the qualities of his rival (which he assessed as having great individual talent and a lot of collective strength) and talked about the pressure exerted by the Argentine fans for the team to advance to the final. The Argentine coach also talked about Lionel Messi and how the team has relied on his talent for the World Cup. “Any team that has a player like Messi will greatly depend on him. He is the best in the world. But there is a lot of teamwork, which is what makes him play more or less.”
On the other side, Belgium's coach stated that there is no pressure on his team, and anticipated that (contrary to expectations) his team will not play in the defence. “We no longer feel pressured, because we've achieved our championship goals," he said, referring to the fact that the national team has managed to advance to the quarterfinals. “As long as we give it our all, we may lose it and feel no regret. We have already shown what we came for, and will come home with a good feeling," said Marc Wilmots.
The gates of the Mané Garrincha Stadium will open at 10 am this Saturday, and fans are recommended to arrive by that time to avoid lines. There are several promotional stands, shops and entertainment areas after the turnstiles, all available for the fans to spend time before the match begins.
Brasilienses (Brasília natives) and tourists can also enjoy a number of attractions in the Mané Garrincha's surrounding areas since early in the morning. The TV Tower is open to visitors from 9 am to 8 pm, and will not close during the match. The Symphonic Band of the Federal District State Police will be presenting in front of the Mané Garrincha. They will be playing the national anthems of Brazil, Argentina and Belgium, as well as a selection of Brazilian pop music.
The security operation on the perimeter around the stadium begins on the first minute of Friday (4 July), including blockades on the surrounding access roads. In other roads, blockades may be set up from 7 am until up to 6 pm, and may be lifted before that time (see details below)
Public transport is the best option to access the stadium. Conventional bus lines will operate normally during the day, and any bus lines that go through the N1 road of the Eixo Monumental (between the Central Bus Station and the Burity Palace) will take a small detour to circumvent the blockades but will then continue along their regular routes. Special (free) bus lines will facilitate access to the Mané Garrincha (see below). Those who choose to park in the special parking areas will have bus routes available in the central area of the city.
The Argentine fans who set up camp in the Granja do Torto can access the stadium using conventional bus lines, which will run without change. A special line will take passengers from the camping area to the FIFA Fan Fest in the Taguaparque (Taguatinga). The fare is R$ 3.
Assistance from the Embassy of Argentina
According to information from the Embassy of Argentina, Brasília should receive about 60,000 porteño tourists. Information and assistance stations were installed at strategic points like the airport, central bus terminal, the Esplanade of Ministries and surrounding areas of the stadium. The Argentine fans who seek these stations can rely on consular assistance provided by trained staff, ready to provide guidance and help resolve issues such as document loss and communication with family members. The staff can also help citizens with lodging, transportation and access to the Fan Fests, among others.
The Embassy has also reported that diplomats will be in the stadium before, during and after the match to assist Argentine citizens in case of police or judicial detentions. In any such instance, the recommendation is for the Argentine citizen to always require Argentine authorities to be notified. The Embassy of Argentina has released contact information to be used in case of emergencies. Check it out below: