December 22, 2014
Brazil to roll out armoured welcome wagon for Argentina
Authorities showed off the new welcome wagon they plan to roll out if necessary as Porto Alegre braced for an Argentine invasion for their final World Cup Group F match against Nigeria.
Looking like an armour-plated motor home, the local military brigade offered reporters a close-up look at the massive vehicle that comes equipped with a water jet which can reach up to 60 metres in distance and cameras that allow recording images in its surroundings.
Although happy to show off their state-of-the-art armoured truck, officials were otherwise reluctant to discuss even the smallest details about beefed-up security plans for Wednesday's game.
Even before the start of the World Cup, security forces had identified Argentina matches as potential flash points and with this gritty port city just a few hours drive from the Argentine border Wednesday's contest was always going be circled in red.
Even with a weather forecast predicting for three days of rain, the wet conditions are unlikely to dampen the mood of Argentineans eager to get in on the World Cup party.
But security forces, which have taken a heavy-handed approach to dealing with even the smallest of protests in the Rio Grande do Sul capital, will have low tolerance for any violence.
Brazilian police are taking no chances with talk circulating about an Argentine 'barra brava' training camp set up on the outskirts of the city.
Argentine supporters have purchased 18,000 tickets to Wednesday's game but according to local media reports FIFA expects as many as 54,000 will make the trip to Porto Alegre while local estimates double that figure at close to 100,000.
In a normal week six buses usually travel the Argentina-Brazil route but that number will jump to 17 over the same period ahead of the match.
A total of 27 extra flights from Argentina to Porto Alegre have also been scheduled.
What it all adds up to is one of the biggest parties of the World Cup or one of the tournament's major security nightmares.
There was a noticeable increase in police presence on Porto Alegre's rain-soaked streets in the downtown core today but no hint of trouble as few Argentine fans mingled with the usual crowd of workers.