They drank, they sang, they danced - and then they drank some more. About 6,000 largely expatriate football fans transformed Robertson Walk into a World Cup carnival ground early yesterday morning.
As dawn broke, a sea of yellow-shirted Brazilians were still singing about their wild-haired hero David Luiz, who smashed in Brazil's decisive goal in their 2-1 quarter-final win over Colombia.
"Amazing goal - simply perfect," gushed 30-year-old Brazilian blogger Juliana Silva, who had already been partying at Robertson Walk well before the earlier kick-off of the first quarter-final between France and Germany.
With French, German and even Colombian fans soaking in the festive atmosphere, the pubs around the Robertson Walk courtyard have been enjoying roaring business during these live television screenings.
"It's incredible," Dragan Bojovic, owner of the Hannibal European Grill & Bar, said of the sight. "I've been here 10 years and it's the first time that I've seen such a crowd."
It was around 7pm - a good five hours before the action got under way - that the crowds began streaming in. The Germans came in their white shirts, the French in their blue, while those of Latin American persuasion turned up in their respective variations of Brazilian and Colombian yellow.
Even the vuvuzela made a cameo - four years after announcing its arrival on the international stage in cacophonous fashion at the 2010 Finals in South Africa.
"This is more a party than a football match," said Michael Schmelcher, a 40-year-old from Germany.
Indeed, there was not an empty seat left by the time his fellow countrymen kicked off to defiant chants of "Allez les Bleus" from the French fans.
"It's like being in a stadium, where all the fans mix with one another," remarked Tomma Ottjes, who found herself cheering Joachim Loew's side on, just a few steps away from an enclave of French supporters.
Likewise, Bogota native Juan Bernal showed up wearing a wig of red, blue and yellow and the Colombian flag draped over his shoulders. The 40-year-old photographer had cheered on his national team in person during a trip to Brazil last month, and said: "The atmosphere here is fabulous - even better than I thought.
"I've got a World Cup subscription at home but I'd much rather be here, as it makes me feel less homesick."
For Frenchman Julien Even, it was a throwback to being in Paris when Les Bleus won their first and only World Cup crown in 1998. "It feels like I'm in a public square in Europe," he observed.
But for the 42-year-old from Brittany, this year's World Cup is over, as France's 0-1 defeat by Germany left the French fans' dreams of glory in ruins, amid a mound of empty beer bottles.
When asked if he would hit the town for the semi-finals, Even replied: "I don't think so. It's a chauvinist thing."
This article was first published on July 06, 2014.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.