TORREON, Mexico -- At 6 p.m. local time the first few signs of on-the-field activity caused fans at Estadio Corona to rush toward the bottom level of the stadium. Several water boys appeared, followed by a few trainers, which was a disappointment. The trickling out of several unrecognizable players caused some anticipation, but it was not until the mohawked 19-year-old Neymar strutted out from the tunnel that the crowd truly became excited.
Moments later, Ronaldinho surfaced and fans cheered and screamed as if they had just seen a movie star. In a way, they almost had.
At its apex, a crowd of approximately 15,000 watched the Brazilians practice, marveling at the ball skills and their famous fancy footwork. The residents of Torreon had never seen such a display of star power.
The Brazilians' opening practice had been so anticipated that a noticeable part of the crowd left as soon as it ended, meaning they would miss Mexico's practice. The hometown stars were upstaged by the opening act.