Uruguayans cry. They cry a lot.
They cried during the national anthem. They cried at kick off. They cried at halftime. They cried when Claudio Marchisio was shown a red card. They cried when Luis Suarez bit Giorgio Chiellini. They cried when Diego Godin scored to put them into the knockout stages. They cried at the final whistle. They cried as they were walking out of the stadium.
How any of them had any tears left by the end of it all was beyond me.
Uruguay have the most passionate fans of any I've seen at this World Cup. While the Americans party, the Aussies drink, the Japanese smile and the Ghanians dance, the Uruguayans cared about one thing -- the match.
Thirty minutes before kick off, the Uruguayans were singing so loudly inside the stadium that it was echoing around the concourses. They chanted at every opportunity and celebrated goals with some of the most violent hugs I've ever seen.
Nothing in the world mattered to them today except this match.
The Uruguayans were everywhere. They filled half of the 40,000 seat stadium and thousands more without tickets watched on big screens or at bars outside. One English-speaking policeman said that he thought there were 60,000 Uruguayans around the stadium.
That is 1.5 percent of the entire country's population.
The Arena das Dunas was awash in light blue. Every song was a cue for the pockets of Uruguayans laced throughout the stadium to stand and sing. They bounced up and down and waved scarves or flags. The scene was so surreal that the local Brazilians took out their cameras to capture it every time. A tense match, featuring some of the world's best players and with a knockout round place on the line, was played out on the field, but the show was in the stands.
It was almost frightening watching the Uruguay fans. There were times they looked like they might storm the field, most likely to chase down Mario Balotelli. As is the case whenever Balotelli is on the pitch, he was a target. When he went down with what appeared to be a head injury, a slew of Spanish profanities were laced down upon him, as well as whistles and beer cups. It's a good thing he wasn't within throwing distance or he would have been pelted and, most likely, hurt. Worse, that is.
When Suarez bit Chiellini, the Uruguay fans were convinced it was Chiellini who was at fault. Obliviousness is a beautiful thing.
"He would never do that," one Uruguay fan said.
Just like Suarez never bit a player on the field before. Or that other time.
Godin's winner sent the stadium crazy. Every Uruguay fan jumped onto the nearest seat, breaking six of them in my section alone. Old men and women shed tears. So did little boys and girls and everyone in between.
At halftime, Uruguay thought they were doomed. They talked about how Italy never concede and how the referee wouldn't let Uruguay score. Thirty-six minutes later, they were in front and on their way to the round of 16.
As the Uruguayans walked out of the stadium, they did so in song. They gathered in the concourses to sing and dance. It wasn't until security urged them to leave that they finally walked out of the gates.
In tears, of course.