31 Dec. 1997
Vasco da Gama club fans begin to fill Rio de Janeiro's Maracana, the world's largest soccer stadium, prior to the National Championship game. Often fans arrive more than three hours prior to game time, with special sections that lead their team on with the pounding of Samba melodies. Built in 1950 as the main venue for the World Cup, Maracana has enough space for approximately 150,000 fans, and is revered in Brazil as soccers "holy ground." These fans were rewarded with a victory by Vasco over Palmeiras.