NATAL, Brazil -- The Australians could have partied in Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo. They could have gone to Brasilia and been in the capital or checked out the areas around Salvador and Recife, which have some of the country's best beaches. But they were in Natal.
Beer is cheap in Natal.
Despite Australia playing nowhere near Natal, Australians have packed the city. Normally, they get almost zero international travelers in this city, a million strong but inconveniently situated on Brazil's eastern extremity. They weren't expecting Australians, since during the World Cup, only fans of teams who have matches in the city were expected to show up. And yet there they were.
When we asked why there were so many Australians here, the answer was simple: "cheap drinks."
"The World Cup is a party. This is how Australians party," one fan slurred.
And when the Socceroos played the Netherlands, they filled several of the city's bars. They wore their yellow and green jerseys, drank beer and whenever there was a lull in play, ordered shots. Men and women explained how Tim Cahill "can get it" and when asked if they were the best looking team in the tournament, answered "it depends how drunk you are."
The men dressed as kangaroos were plenty drunk enough. They kept tugging on their own ears and hopping around, yelling "AUSSIE, AUSSIE, AUSSIE!" and waiting for an "OI, OI, OI" whenever they needed a break. Amazingly, they did all of this without spilling a drop of beer.
Unfortunately, Australia lost and their World Cup is basically over. They can't advance into the knockout rounds so their last match is just a party. Which, of course is perfectly fine with the traveling Aussies.
"We didn't come to win the World Cup," a man said mid-beer. "We came to win the World Cup of Partying."
Seeing as they picked a city to travel to based on who sold the cheapest drinks, they're certainly in prime position to do just that.
Now FIFA just needs to give Australia a World Cup. The tournament, not the trophy. Let them host and throw the party, instead of making their own abroad. Humankind needs a lesson in drinking from these amazing World Cup wonders, who are a more advanced, wonderful and happy people than we could ever hope to be.