Switzerland wrote its name in the history of the Brasilia National Stadium today. The Swiss beat Ecuador by 2-1 in front of 68,351 supporters and won the first ever World Cup match of the Brasília National Stadium.
The first roars came from the Ecuadorian side of the Mané Garrincha stands. At the 21st minute, Ayoví used a free kick to cross into the box from the left, which Enner Valencia used to open the score with a header. Switzerland would tie the match in a similar play: Mehmedi - who had just entered the match - hit a header after a corner kick at the 47th minute and evened out the score. Almost at the final whistle, 3 minutes into stoppage time, the Swiss stole the ball and Behrami passed across the pitch to Rodriguez on the left, who found Seferovic in the box. The striker - who had also entered the match in the second half - hit a through-ball that left no chance of defence to the Ecuadorian goalkeeper, seizing victory for the Swiss almost at the very last minute.
Ecuador's next challenge is against Honduras at the Baixada Arena, in Curitiba, on 20 June. Switzerland faces France on the same day at the Fonte Nova Arena (Salvador).
81-year-old Ecuadorian pays homage to Garrincha in stadium named after the football star
The 81-year-old's demeanour was in stark contrast with the excitement around the Mane Garrincha National Stadium. As people came into the stadium jumping, cheering and singing, Paco Suarez was alone and quiet. He was celebrating the World Cup his own way: by hanging a banner in honour of right-winger Garrincha on a railing near the stadium entrance.
The origins of his reverence for one of the greatest football players in history ("Mané Garrincha - We remember," reads one of the sayings on his banner) are twofold: Paco's affection for Brazil and his admiration for the irreverent style of the playmaker after which the Brasília stadium is named. “Ever since I was little, I've been a Brazilian at heart," says the Ecuadorian from Manabí, a coastal town three hours away from the capital Guayaquil. “I saw Garrincha play live for Botafogo on a match against the Ecuadorian Barcelona," he recalls.
Paco followed Garrincha's performance in the 1958, 1962 and 1966 World Cups through radio and newspapers. He then decided to see the World Up personally in 1970, and swears he has never missed a single edition of the event ever since.