Viewpoint: Dr Paul Fourie on the British Medical Football team's arrival in Brazil

As the 2014 Fifa World Cup enters its final stages, the planet's best medical footballers have gathered in Brazil to join the party. Writing exclusively for GPonline, GP and team member Dr Paul Fourie says the atmosphere has been fantastic.

Dr Paul Fourie with Brazil fans ahead of the Medical World Football Championship
Dr Paul Fourie with Brazil fans ahead of the Medical World Football Championship

The build-up to arriving in Brazil has lasted all year, and the last two or three weeks have been painful.

Seeing the Fifa World Cup taking place really whetted the appetite – especially seeing a few games taking place in Natal, the city that was our destination for the Medical World Football Championship.

And in the weeks leading up to the tournament trying to keep fit and avoid injury has been very worrying.

But on 3 July the waiting was over and after weeks of piling up football kit and sports bags we were off – the 25-strong squad arriving in balmy Brazil at midnight local time.

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Having arrived in the dark, waking up and looking out of the window at miles of beach, rolling surf and palm trees was not a disappointing start.

That Friday was a day to settle in and to go into town to watch Brazil playing Colombia in the first of the World Cup quarter finals.

At a local street party we found a big screen and about 1,500 people in Brazil shirts – when Brazil scored, the whole place erupted and all around the sky lit up with fireworks and firecrackers.

On Saturday, the British Medical Team got together for a 9am warm-up and a chance to kick a ball about for the first time, stretch and start to work together as a team.

That night it was the opening ceremony and the tournament draw – we were bussed to another hotel 10 minutes away with an enormous conference centre, where waiters and waitresses in traditional dress handed out cocktails.

Tournament draw

As each team was drawn out, the captain took the stage and introduced their team – I introduced our team with a spoof of the film Braveheart that we’ve put together.

We avoided last year’s winners Germany, and other tough teams including Brazil and Spain, drawing Sweden, Belarus and Australia.

A couple of good players who used to play for us now play for Australia having emigrated there, so there’s still some ill-feeling.

The pitch was terrible for our first game, but who could complain – we were about to play football in Brazil.

Australia started strongly but we secured an early goal from a corner to settle the nerves, then played really well, scoring two more before half time and another two in the second half to finish 5-0.

Next we play Sweden - a win would guarantee we finish as winners of our group.

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