FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 – Netherlands vs USA

An orange extravaganza

Wellington Batucada at FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 - Netherlands vs USA. Photo by Alison Green.

It’s quite tricky finding orange clothing. It’s just not that popular a colour these days (oh to be back in the 1970s!) – but I really think it should be making a comeback, because it’s quite spectacular – especially en masse. As you will see from the photos.

The reason we needed orange gear – not a colour generally associated with our Batucada uniform – is that we were invited by the Dutch Embassy to lead their fan parade from the Shed 6 Fanzone to the Stadium. The game was a BIG ONE – featuring the two finalists from the last Women’s World Cup – Netherlands vs USA. Of course we said yes – how could we not? How exciting!

A good number of drummers and dancers were able to take a couple of hours out of their busy day to be part of the action – and we were massively impressed to see how many Dutch fans had turned up to take part – hundreds of ’em – all with their orange gear, and flags, and some even wearing clogs. Awesome!

Wellington Batucada leading the Netherlands fan parade at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 – Netherlands vs USA
Video by Tom Etuata

The sun came out on this winter’s day and the sky was blue as anything when we began the parade at 11am with the whole crowd singing the Netherlands team song, accompanied by a couple of us on surdo, caixa and chocalho. Then we were off – drumming and dancing with the sun shining, and the crowd singing and waving their flags madly – what an atmosphere!

You know how NZ is “Four seasons in one day”? Well this day was no exception – the Southerly came across the harbour at a rate of knots, and all of a sudden our blue sky was nowhere to be seen, replaced by big fat raindrops and a cold wind. Oh noes! Still – we were all dressed for any eventuality, with many layers of thermals under the orange, and prepared to play and dance through anything – so we just kept going, and smiling, and samba-ing away along the waterfront towards the Stadium.

Wellington Batucada at FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 - Netherlands vs USA. Photo by Andrew Voerman, Stuff.

By the time we got to the concourse the rain had decided to go elsewhere (couldn’t compete with all those sunny costumes I reckon), the sun came back out, and we led the huge crowd to their destination, thankful that we weren’t all soaked to the skin.

Having played (and planned to play) Samba and Merengue for the whole parade, our director Sunita decided to spring Sambanui samba reggae on us once we were in place near the Stadium, just for a change-up and to give the dancers an opportunity to showcase their fabulous choreography for this piece.

Just as well it’s an oldie as well as a goodie, because we haven’t practiced it much recently… but it was pretty awesome, and the dancers looked fabulous, and the many many TV cameras in attendance got some good shots, so it was worth the risk in the end.

Big crowd at FIFA World Cup match expected to score economic boost for Wellington
1News report

Apparently the game (and the runup to it) was broadcast to a record crowd of 6.43 million people worldwide – the most watched Women’s World Cup group stage match in US English language TV history – so I imagine we might have ended up in the living rooms of quite a few people around the world. Cool, eh?

Oh – and the score was 1:1, for those keeping track of such things. It’s all still to play for…

USA vs Netherlands vlog
Video by Kos I Can

Photo gallery

Photos by Geneviève Rousseau Cung, Ginas Bellygees, Jane Comben, JWS, Kelly Etuata, Meghana Woolly Moth Amarnath, Rebecca Routhan, Satya Priyomarsono, Shawn Peng, and Stuff. Click on any thumbnail to see the larger version:

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