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The playing field wasn't much to look at or to play on. There would be reports later in the British press that it was a converted bullring, but this couldn't have been so -- they have never fought bulls in Brazil. Still, the grass was parched and patchy, and far too high in spots. The ball, instead of settling, teed up unnaturally on the tufts. There were likely to be overkicks.
The stands were of brick and timber, built a generation before the war. It was said that they groaned and swayed slightly when full --it took only 30,000 to fill them, not the 50,000 or 60,000 that would be reported in the press. Even so, there wasn't an empty seat that day.
The locker rooms were cramped, foul smelling, and cobweb-filled. The English had disdained them; they'd arrived already dressed. The Americans were less fussy. They'd seen worse.
Of all of Brazil's major stadiums this one was the humblest. Only first-round matches were to be played here and only the least of those -- the mismatches and second-level games. In this case a mismatch the worst against the best ...The Game of Their Lives
Excerpted from The Game of Their Lives: The Untold Story of the World Cup's Biggest Upset by Geoffrey Douglas
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