GREATEST FAN: Juan Alvarez will keep his eye on the ball while cheering on his native country, Colombia, during the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
GREATEST FAN: Juan Alvarez will keep his eye on the ball while cheering on his native country, Colombia, during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Allan Reinikka Rokajuan

Juan cheers for favourite football team during World Cup

CHEERING on his Colombian countrymen during the 2014 FIFA World Cup might score Juan Alvarez his own brush with fame.

The Ray White Rockhampton real estate agent has been asked to feature in a documentary about Colombians as they barrack for their beloved team from outside their native country.

Juan, who moved to Australia several years ago, describes football as a religion in Colombia.

He leapt out of bed yesterday at 4am to watch the World Cup's opening ceremony, followed by Brazil's three-one win over Croatia.

Today he'll cheer for his other team - Australia.

But tomorrow at 2am his home will become Rocky's own slice of Latin America.

Juan will watch his team's first match dressed in his country's jersey with his Colombian flag resting nearby, a feast of Colombian food to nibble on, and his internet tuned in to a Colombian radio station.

Colombian supporters were devastated by the loss of their star player, Radamel Falcao, to a knee injury.

But Juan believes the team will make it through to the next round.

"We have a really good chance to go far," he said.

"I think Spain and Germany are the teams to beat. I think Belgium and Colombia are the underdogs."

One Colombian player who was himself once an underdog has made this year's team particularly special for Juan.

Ten years ago Victor Ibarbo was plucked from poverty by a family friend of Juan's. The man, who owns a football school, and his wife welcomed Ibarbo into their home and raised him like their own son.

Juan, his family and friends will be cheering for the now 24-year-old Ibarbo as he represents their country.

"I will be cheering for him every time he is on the field," Juan said.



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