They landed within 24 hours of each other, but their respective arrivals at the Changi Airport were worlds apart in style, as the Japan and Brazil national teams touched down in Singapore.
First to arrive were the Japanese and it was a case of blink and you might have missed them as the Samurai Blue scampered through the arrival hall just after 7.30pm on Saturday evening.
Just like the famed Shinkansen (Japanese bullet train), they raced past the waiting crowd of eager fans, to take their seats on the team bus in just under 50 seconds.
The players, including AC Milan playmaker Keisuke Honda all looked debonair and dapper in their suits, as the adoring fans grappled to squeeze out an autograph or two from the Asian superstars.
But the Japanese players were having none of it, efficiently skipping past the attention of the fans, with only a handful of players like goalkeeper Eji Kawashima and Inter Milan’s Yuto Nagatoma pausing for autographs along the way.
Amongst the sea of blue gathered to welcome the team was Echigo Kenichiro, 43, who moved from Osaka, Japan to Singapore almost two years ago.
He will be watching the Japanese football team battling against the Samba Boys of Brazil, after years of dejection and was at the airport, with his son and wife in hand.
“In Japan, when the national team play, it is very hard to get tickets to watch them. So the moment, I heard about the match being played here, I made plans to get the tickets,” the office worker beamed.
“I don’t care about the result, I am just happy to see them play live.”
With all the excitement from the Japan national team's arrival dying down, it was time for the boys from Brazil to make their star studded arrival in the early hours of Sunday morning.
If the arrival of the Japanese team was a low key affair, the Brazil fans upped the ante, as loud shrieks and squeals pierced the air as the adoring crowd caught glimpses of the Samba boys, all dressed down in shorts and baggy pants.
The likes of former AC Milan and Real Madrid star Kaka, Liverpool hotshot Coutinho and former Chelsea defender David Luiz set pulses racing, and the players were more than happy to oblige to signing autographs on the outstretched kits.
The loudest of screams were reserved for Brazilian superstar Neymar, as the crowd tussled for the best view of the good looking Barcelona forward. Some fans got exactly what they wished for.
A barricade separating the stars and the fans toppled, sending three fans crashing to the ground right in front of Neymar.
One of them was Christopher Yeo, 33.
Speaking to FourFourTwo, the IT business worker said: “People were trying to push me from behind when Neymar came near and before I knew it, I was on the ground”.
Christopher suffered bruises on his shin but felt it was all worth it in the end.
“I am just very happy that I got to see a future Liverpool legend like Coutinho and get his autograph on my kit!” he said.
Seeing the stars up close was also a joyous moment for Brazilian Mariana Melo, 31, who moved to Singapore from Brazil just three months ago.
Currently a Physical Education teacher at an international school, she explained her excitement at seeing her countrymen.
“I watched the Brazil team play before but that was 20 years ago!” she said.
“To see Kaka, Neymar, David Luiz here is amazing and a great experience!
“I have already snapped front row tickets for the match and I can’t wait for Tuesday!”comments