Brazil’s largest favela Rocinha is home to 70,000 residents.
It’s also the home of Diego and William. Despite living in the shadow of Maracana, they never thought they would have the opportunity to see a World Cup match.
Tickets to the tournament cost between $20 and $20,000.
In a country where the minimum monthly wage is just $300, getting World Cup tickets is out of reach for many.
“It’s great to have a World Cup at home, but it’s bad having the World Cup and we don’t get to go,” Diego told SBS.
“I wish I was there seeing Neymar, to see Paulinho and Hulk.”
Diego’s friend William shares the same sentiment.
“It’s very upsetting, but we don’t stop supporting Brazil more and more,” he said. “I’d give everything to be there.”
FIFA said it has given away 50,000 free World Cup tickets to underprivileged and Indigenous communities, in addition to half-price entry for students and the elderly.
But there were still many neighbourhoods that missed out entirely.
SBS reported on Diego and William’s story on Wednesday night, and such was the response from viewers that soft drinks company Coca Cola agreed to provide tickets for the two boys.
The tickets allowed the boys to see the World Cup clash between France and Germany. The showdown between the two European giants had Diego and William on the edge of their seats at Maracana stadium, happily savouring a moment they never thought they would experience.
“We are so happy to see all these people. It’s my first World Cup,” Deigo said.