On day 3 of the training camp in Brazil, Jan Vertonghen and Christian Eriksen were tested on their knowledge about Brazil. A few days after a visit to the football museum, Ajax.nl invited the Belgian and the Dane for a small Brazilian quiz after practice. The result was a lively break from the serious preparations for the next half of the season.
“It looks like I just signed with Palmeiras”, says Eriksen, hoisting Ajax’s upcoming opponent’s jersey. The midfielder can’t suppress his smile. He’s just beaten Jan Vertonghen at a Brazilian football quiz. Ajax’s midfielder has already won his first prize in 2012. Three lucky guesses gave the Dane the win against Ajax’s captain, who is complaining loudly about the lost quiz. “What the heck is this…?”
Name some Brazilians who have played with Ajax.
Eriksen: ,,Zé Eduardo.”
E: ,,Ah, shame, I had him too. Leonardo then.”
E: ,,Danilo Sousa.”
V: ,,He never made a debut, man.”
C: ,,Well, neither did Zé Eduardo, did he?”
V: ,,Ok, that guy with the curly hair and the early red card…what’s his name again? Marcos? No wait, Marcio Santos!”
After taking a break to think, and repeating the names they had already given, Eriksen and Vertonghen gave up. But when they hear the name Maxwell, they look at each other. Of course, we had him too…they both squander the chance to take a 4-3 lead.
Next question. How many people live in Brazil?
V: ,,300 million.”
E: ,,280 million.”
The correct answer is just under 200 million.
V: “Unfair again. Now Eriksen gets to go first…”
How many people live in São Paulo?
E: “25 million.”
V: “26 million.”
With a population of 22 million, Eriksen comes closest. The Dane can’t contain a shriek of joy. Luck is on his side once again. If Vertonghen is going to have a shot at the jersey, now’s the time to start his comeback.
Besides Palmeiras, which other football clubs are in São Paulo?
E: “São Paulo”
V: “Corinthians. There aren’t any more, right?”
Portuguesa could have brought Vertonghen into the race, but Eriksen maintains his lead. The questions about whether Frank de Boer (4) or André Ooijer (3) has played the most interlands against Brazil is answered correctly by both. There´s also no doubt about who the Ajax player is who once got a red card against Brazil. Together, they call out André Ooijer’s name. It appears that they are boned up on their historic knowledge, as even a red card from a 1999 practice interland is fresh in their memories.
Three questions remain. The Palmeiras coach’s name is called out first by Eriksen. “Scolari!” he calls confidently. Vertonghen reacts: “And his first name is Luiz Felipe. I think that’s worth an extra point…” But Eriksen was quickest to answer.
What is the nickname of Brazil’s national team?
Just before the end, Vertonghen wins a point. The two point difference (9-7) can’t be bridged with the last question. But, for the record, Eriksen wants to hear the last question.
Which animal is the Palmeiras mascot?
Eriksen wants to polish his win a bit more and looks around the training complex to look for an image of the animal. After two good guesses, he goes for the third one. “A bird?”, says the Dane. With the win already in the bag, his answer is correct. The big picture of a parrot on the Palmeiras players’ bus confirms that the answer is right.
While an annoyed Vertonghen has retreated to the locker room, Eriksen received the promised reward. Thanks to the Palmeiras press manager, the prize is Ajax’s upcoming opponent’s official match jersey. In any case, he won’t need to swap jerseys to get his Brazilian hosts’ green home jersey. And that’s good, because Ajax will play in a special home jersey on Saturday because of the Brazil training camp, with the sponsor name Mongeral AEGON on the jersey for one time only. So he doesn’t need to trade that collector’s item. He already has the green shirt after 3 days of the training camp. Eriksen’s first prize of the year is his to keep.