You can enjoy reading an extract from the pre-match commentary here on the Insider, or go to the Daily Prophet offices on pottermore.com to enjoy the full transcript of the thrilling match (registration required).
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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?