While millions of fans watched England’s opening World Cup match at the weekend, one West Norfolk supporter has been enjoying a very different view of the tournament.
That’s because Claire Jermany, from North Wootton, is working as a volunteer during matches at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, including the final on July 13.
Her first assignment was Sunday’s match between Argentina and Bosnia-Herzegovina and she admitted there was some envy of her role among family and friends.
She said: “My dad in particular is very jealous. They’re really happy for me though, and will be looking out for me on tv at the games.”
Claire is one of 14,000 volunteers who are working in Brazil during the tournament. Her role is as a spectator services volunteer, greeting fans in and around the Maracana stadium.
She said: “We have been told we are the ‘face of the World Cup’ and it’s our job to give information, be friendly and generally help the spectators.”
And she is particularly excited to be working at the final.
She said: “I couldn’t believe it when I got my schedule through and saw July 13 on it. The atmosphere is going to be incredible, especially if Brazil get to the final.”
And she is confident that protests during the run-up to the tournament will not overshadow the competition itself.
“I believe Brazil’s love of football will preside over any negativity in the next month, especially if they go far. Fingers crossed it’s all OK anyway.”
Claire, a former pupil of the King Edward VII School who graduated from the University of Nottingham last summer, said she was inspired to volunteer after the London Olympics, which she watched while studying in the United States.
She said: “I saw all the volunteers having an amazing time. I thought, the next big sporting event, I will be part of! I did a lot of volunteering at university – working on committees, organising events and had done Duke of Edinburgh at KES, but nothing on this scale.”