ABU DHABI // Brazil and Iran met on a football field for the first time last night, but not at a packed ground in Rio de Janeiro or Tehran.
Instead, 20,000 fans of both teams roared at a stadium in Zayed Sports City that offered UAE residents a rare chance to watch the highly ranked teams.
"We found out about it about a week ago, and just had to come and watch," said Victor Gomes, 14, a Brazilian expatriate who has lived in Abu Dhabi for five years and who attended the game with his family.
They got to see Brazilian stars such as Robinho, Alexandre Pato and Dani Alves in the flesh, as a boisterous atmosphere overcame the stadium. Alves struck the opening goal in the 14th minute with a trademark curling free-kick that set the Brazilians on their way to a 3-0 victory.
The "glamour friendly" was the latest in a series of matches run by a Swiss-based sports marketing agency, which make up the "Brazil World Tour".
For some Iranians in the crowd, however, the one regret was that the match - nominally a home game - was being played away.
"I think it would have been much better if this game had been played in Iran," said Kourosh Taslimi, 26, an Iranian who lives in Dubai and drove into the capital for the game.
"The ground would have been packed, the atmosphere would have been great. It would also have been better for the name of Iran."