NATAL, Brazil -- You know when's the best time to light fireworks? After you've been sitting in a bar drinking all day. Nothing says "good idea" like a ton of alcohol, fire and explosives.
Chile knew they had a good team -- one that certainly could have gotten out of their group -- but they expected to have a tough time, especially with Spain involved. Even after the Netherlands smashed the defending World Cup champions, the Chileans thought they would have difficult match against the Spaniards.
Which would explain why the Chileans in Natal started drinking early. That, or they had the day off so why not. And when Eduardo Vargas scored, that drinking only escalated. Which is to say they added celebratory shots to their repertoire of beers.
When Charles Araguiz made it 2-0 Chile, they lost their minds. Instead of a round of shots, it was two, then three rounds of shots. A man in an elephant hat started yelling "CHI CHI CHI, LE LE LE, VIVA CHILE." The second half was a stationary, inebriated pre-victory parade.
When the final whistle went with Chile as winners, the entire bar erupted in cheers. The Americans, Australians, Ghanians and Brazilians had taken to the Chileans in the bar, who had entertained them for the last two hours. But before the rest of the bar was done cheering, the Chileans had vanished.
They had sprinted out, removed the fireworks that they'd been keeping in their pocket for just such a moment, and proceeded to light them in the middle of the street. They were too drunk to walk in a straight line, but that only made playing with fire and explosives seem like an even better idea.
The first firework went up without issue. So did the next two.
The bangs echoed up and down the streets, the lights made us all blink, and everyone was entertained. But then the fourth went off with a yelp and it was clear something had gone wrong. A man, obviously the culprit was jumping up and down in the middle of the road, shaking his hand in agony.
He burnt his hand. The Chilean made noises, clearly in pain, and grabbed it, looking at the damage. It was bright red.
His inspired solution: go right back to the bar and get a medicinal beer.
By the time he had finished his beer, he was dancing and singing with his friends again. When asked how he was, his answer was to scream "VIVA CHILE!"
See? Fireworks and alcohol are a good mix.