The stadium is full and the noise is deafening. We await the arrival of both team’s mascots, who will put on a pre-match show. The Bulgarians, of course, bring their celebrated dancing troupe of Veelas, which constitutes a major reason for the team’s popularity, at least with men. Brazil’s Curupiras have already caused a great deal of mischief so far this tournament but are similarly popular, mostly with children. Security wizards stand by all around the perimeter in case of trouble.
While we wait for the opening performance, let’s remind ourselves what these teams look like and compare some key statistics.
After a slow start in the tournament, Brazilian Almeida was a star of the lengthy semi-final against the USA and is a major reason for his team’s presence in the final. However, many felt his opposite number on the Haitian side out-performed him in Brazil’s first match and he sustained a nasty head injury in the contentious quarter-final against Wales.
Zdravko let in 17 goals against New Zealand in the first round and no fewer than 46 against Japan in the semi-final. Bulgarian fans are rightly nervous about Zdravko’s abilities facing a Brazilian Chaser trio of proven ability.
The Brazilian trio have been one of the joys of the tournament, exciting to watch and responsible for 68 goals so far. Gonçalo Flores has emerged as one of his team’s stars, celebrated for making the hoops from way out of the scoring box.
Though less flashy in style, the statistics do not lie: the Bulgarian Chasers have scored 74 goals so far this tournament and have – to the surprise of many fans and commentators – out-performed their Brazilian counterparts.
Although they turned in lacklustre performances during the first two matches of the tournament, the Brazilian Beaters redeemed themselves in spectacular style during the semi-final when by their efforts they prevented the American Seeker Smackhammer catching the Snitch.
A competent though not outstanding duo, Draganov and Vulchanov have nevertheless displayed great physical courage throughout the tournament. Vulchanov was knocked out cold protecting his Seeker during one of the most memorable moments of the Bulgaria versus Japan semi-final.
Silva has only made two captures during the tournament due to Haiti’s disqualification in the first round. Once he spots the Snitch, he is fast and accurate, but questions must be asked about his ability to locate the elusive golden ball, as his average capture time this tournament has been 10 hours 44 minutes.
Viktor Krum needs no introduction. The oldest player in this tournament, he has been a world-class Quidditch player since his late teens. Though before this World Cup many critics had written him off, he is largely responsible for Bulgaria’s place in the final. Average capture time this tournament: 5 hours 56 minutes.
The VIP boxes are now full. Chairman of the ICWQC, Mentor Metaxas, chats to the President of the Argentinian Council of Magic, Valentina Vázquez, but all eyes are on Box Two, where Dumbledore’s Army sit under close guard, to prevent mobbing by an overexcited crowd. The Potter family – minus Mother, Ginny Potter, who of course is here in the journalists’ enclosure with me – have been given prime places in the front row. All are wearing the red of Bulgaria except middle child Albus, who is sporting Brazilian green. This will undoubtedly send the gossips into overdrive – what message is young Albus sending us all by choosing to support a team other than his father’s? A team, lest we forget, that is competing against his father’s ex-rival, now friend, Viktor Krum. Are we witnessing a very public, very ugly display of father-son rivalry? My colleague, Ginny Potter, who is sitting close enough to read everything my Quick-Quotes Quill is scribbling, informs me that Albus is a great fan of Brazilian Chaser Gonçalo Flores. That, of course, would be one possible explanation for this oddly public parade of familial dissent.
The crowd roar as the gates open and the mascot troupes assemble! First, the Bulgarian Veela, dressed in diaphanous gowns and dancing to the haunting strains of harp music. Several men’s jaws have dropped here in the journalists’ enclosure and, judging by the number of dropped notebooks, many also appear to have lost sensation in their fingers.
Up in VIP Box Two, Ronald Weasley appears to have become catatonic. Did I just see wife Hermione Granger administer a sharp elbow to the ribs?
And here come the Curupiras with their bright red hair and back-to-front feet. Tumbling, performing acrobatics, stealing hats from fans and generally creating mayhem, the stadium is greatly enjoying their antics.
It is always enchanting to observe young people enjoying the culture of other wizarding nations. Unfortunately, Master Teddy Lupin and Ms Victoire Weasley appear to be far more interested in what they are saying to each other than – I take that back. In what some may see as a somewhat belated show of parental authority, Mr Bill Weasley has swapped places with his now very sulky-looking daughter and is directing her attention to the pitch. It is indeed a terrible waste not to drink in the magnificent spectacle now unfolding before us, with the colours and dancing and whatnot.
Harry Potter is scratching his ear.
The opening ceremony concludes with an interesting Veela/Curupira pyramid formation. If several back to front feet found themselves in the Veela’s eyes, the latter have resisted the temptation to transform into the terrifying Harpy-like form that gave many children – myself included – nightmares after their 1994 display.
And here come the two teams – Brazil in green, Bulgaria in red!
Almost all of the Weasley family are supporting Brazil. Certainly nobody can have expected Ronald to cheer on his wife’s ex-boyfriend. Both his children – Rose, who appears to have inherited her father’s unfortunate hair, and Hugo, who has his mother’s bushy locks – are decked out in green, but Hermione Granger is not wearing anything to indicate which team she is supporting. Does she secretly hope to see Krum take the trophy at last? Or is this the kind of diplomatic neutrality one might expect of a ruthless careerist whose long-term ambition is undoubtedly to be Minister for Magic?
And they’re off! Fourteen players rise into the air for the 427th Quidditch World Cup final!
Neville Longbottom is already on his feet cheering, even though nothing has really happened yet. Is he drunk?
The Quaffle is in Brazil’s possession but slick defence from Draganov and Vulchanov has so far prevented them from scoring. Flores, Diaz and Alonso are relentless, ducking and weaving as they try to find a way past the Bulgarian Beaters.
Luna Lovegood appears to be passing out some kind of snack to her friends in the VIP box. Some might hesitate to accept baked goods from Lovegood, whose schoolgirl nickname, I am reliably informed, was ‘Loony’.
An excellent intercept by Bulgarian Chaser Levski and Bulgaria are streaking towards the goal – thrown to Vassileva – ouch! Even the Brazilians groaned in sympathy there as a Bludger hit Vassileva hard in the throat. She drops the Quaffle, which is caught by Flores. Brazil are back in possession!
Neville Longbottom is laughing hard at something that Harry Potter has leaned across and whispered to him. What is so amusing? Why such an open display of humour in full view of the public? Surely Potter is aware that everybody in the stadium can see him? Is it not rather elitist to enjoy ‘private’ jokes with fellow celebrities when people in the cheap seats cannot hear them?
And it’s first blood to Brazil with a spectacular goal from Flores!
Albus Potter has almost toppled out of the VIP box cheering his Quidditch hero. His uncle Ronald seized the back of his robes and saved him from what would surely have been a death of international significance, spawning news stories across the wizarding world. Brother James is laughing heartily (did he push his brother?). Harry Potter appears completely unconcerned, merely handing his second son one of ‘Loony’ Lovegood’s treats.
Draganov and Vulchanov are successfully disrupting the Brazilian Chasers, preventing the formidable trio from scoring a second goal, but Bulgaria is relying far too much on their defence and their last touch of the Quaffle resulted in a drop and fumble by Grozda. No sign of the Snitch so far.
Harry Potter is cheering every well-hit Bulgarian Bludger, whereas his supposed best friend Ronald Weasley appears to be gnashing his teeth in chagrin. Hermione Granger is yawning. Whether she intends to convey boredom, or is merely exhausted after Dumbledore’s Army’s long night of noisy revelry in the VIP section of the campsite, her Argentinian hosts can only be offended by such blatant rudeness.
Bogomil Levski breaks through the Brazilian defence and equalises! Ten all!
Head of the Department of Magical Transportation Percy Weasley is frowning as he follows the match. Greying and balding, he has aged considerably since the Battle of Hogwarts (where, of course, he became the unfortunate embodiment of the phrase ‘better late than never’). Unkind political opponents may call him a ‘nit-picking bureaucrat’, but others go as far as to say that he is ‘not that bad once you get to know him’.
A sudden burst of quick-fire Quaffle passes has resulted in a brace of goals for Brazil, whose Chasers are tearing up and down the pitch. Gonçalo Flores has scored twice more and Fernando Diaz once, taking the score to 40-10. Bulgaria are making too many careless mistakes and need to take the offensive. Brazil looking far the stronger team at this point.
Charlie Weasley – or ‘The Unmarried Weasley’ as he is often known – is a burly chap carrying several burns due to his work with dragons. Like his sister-in-law Hermione ‘Bored Yawn’ Granger, he is paying little attention to the match, preferring what seems to be a most interesting talk with Rolf Scamander, husband of ‘Loony’ Lovegood. How difficult it has been to marry ‘into’ Dumbledore’s Army we can only speculate. Nobody who witnessed it will ever forget the shock on Scamander’s face when he saw Lovegood’s wedding dress – rainbows, spangles and a tiara of silver unicorn horns, voted ‘Most Hideous Outfit of the Year’ by readers of my regular Daily Prophet column. While Lovegood and Scamander appear to be holding hands in the VIP box, this might well be because Rolf is trying to prevent his wife from putting on one of her famous Special Event Hats.
Nobody who witnessed it will ever forget the shock on Scamander’s face
THE SNITCH HAS BEEN SIGHTED! With the score standing at 50-20 (following goals one minute apart from Alonso and Vassileva) a flash of gold near the Brazilian hoops leads Silva and Krum into a breakneck chase – Beaters and Chasers scatter – Krum is ahead but narrowly misses a capture – as the Snitch soars upwards, both Seekers appear to be dazzled by the brilliant Argentinian sun – the Snitch has disappeared again.
George Weasley, wealthy co-owner of joke shop Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, has only one ear. This disability did not prevent him from marrying his dead brother’s ex-girlfriend Angelina Johnson, or from fathering two children with her: Fred and Roxanne. They are putting on a show of family togetherness up in the box. However, few will forget the recent rumours that – in spite of the plentiful gold brought in by such inventions as Puking Pastilles – Angelina has grown restless in her marriage and recently left the marital home to – my colleague, Ginny Potter, has just informed me that Angelina left the marital home to care for her sick father. Many will think that a likely story. Meanwhile, Teddy Lupin and Victoire Weasley have taken advantage of their elders’ inattention to find their way back into adjacent seats.
Moments after Diaz lengthens Brazil’s lead – 60-20 – Beater Santos hits Viktor Krum hard over the head with his bat. The referee is examining Omniocular footage to determine whether a foul has been committed. The game has been paused.
A great groan has issued from the crowd, undoubtedly in response to Ronald Weasley flagrantly and openly kissing his wife on the cheek. This piece of disgusting exhibitionism appears to have disgusted spectators – my colleague, Ginny Potter, has just informed me that the crowd groaned because one of the players has sustained an injury.
No foul! German referee Herman Junker concludes that Rafael Santos did not mean to hit Viktor Krum around the back of the skull with his Beater’s bat. Krum signals that he is fit to continue and play resumes!
Cold-hearted Hermione Granger did not notice her ex-boyfriend’s injury immediately, due to the ill-judged public display of affection instigated by her husband, but she swiftly put on a display of concern. The same cannot be said for Neville Longbottom, who appears to be spiritedly describing the precise manner in which Krum sustained his nosebleed for the benefit of his godson, Albus Potter. An oddly callous display from the popular Herbology teacher.
Mere seconds after play resumes, Krum and Silva are rocketing suddenly upwards – five thousand Omnioculars follow the pair into the dazzling Argentinian sun –
Dumbledore’s Army seem agitated and tense. Has one of them grievously offended the others? Have bitter wounds been reopened here, in front of thousands of people, where everybody hoped merely to enjoy a unique sporting occasion? Ought Dumbledore’s Army draw such flagrant attention to themselves when – apparently – something exciting is happening on the pitch? Or are they using this as a cover to air old grievances?
Krum and Silva are in a breakneck dash for the Snitch, which Silva sighted first – he is four feet ahead of Krum as both rise almost vertically –
Everyone is on their feet, including the denizens of the VIP boxes – Harry Potter is shouting – if my lip-reading is accurate, Ronald Weasley is swearing –
Krum is gaining on Silva but will it be enough...?
Teddy Lupin has accidentally punched his girlfriend on the nose as he gesticulates – are we about to witness a breakup, live at the Quidditch World Cup?
Krum and Silva neck and neck –
Teddy Lupin and Victoire Weasley snuggled up together again – don’t they care about Quidditch at all? Should they be taking up valuable space in this stadium, when all eyes ought to be glued on the pitch? When so many poor witches or wizards would simply love to be here?
KRUM’S GOT THE SNITCH! BULGARIA HAVE WON!
I can’t see the VIP boxes – everyone is jumping up and down –
Bulgaria has won the Quidditch World Cup
The crowds are going crazy – after two and three-quarter hours in the blazing Argentinian sun, Bulgaria has won the Quidditch World Cup and Krum has achieved his life’s ambition on his third attempt – it looks like he might fall off his broom – tears are streaming down his face – a hugely popular win here in the Patagonian Desert – but hearty commiserations to Brazil - they led almost all the way, and in the end, it was Krum the Seeker who defeated them. A stunning display of sportsmanship here, as Silva and Krum embrace –
Ah, that’s better – people are calming down, I can now see the VIP boxes – well, Dumbledore’s Army seems to approve of the victory, Harry Potter in particular seems emotional – with a determined grin on his face, Ronald Weasley conceals his inevitable annoyance that his wife’s ex-love is being feted by the Quidditch world – young Albus is applauding, doubtless at the prompting of his publicity hungry father – my colleague, Ginny Potter, is approaching me, no doubt with another tedious correc
Rita Skeeter has been taken unaccountably ill with what some are calling a jinx to the solar plexus. As celebrations continue here in the Patagonian Desert, we at the Daily Prophet sincerely hope that you have enjoyed our World Cup coverage from Argentina. Next week, the National Gobstones League comes to Birmingham! But in all honesty... don’t bother.