The team was supposed to play its biggest game ever Wednesday night.
Soccer fans came together for a somber and tearful tribute to the players and staff members of the Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense who lost their lives in a plane crash Tuesday at the site of the Copa Sudamericana finals they were supposed to play in.
Thousands of fans gathered at the stadium of local team Atletico Nacional in Medellín, Colombia (with even more who couldn’t fit in the stadium standing outside) Wednesday night for the ceremony. Members of Atletico Nacional Many in attendance—including members of Atletico Nacional—were brought to tears during the tribute as a military band played. Fans held up candles, lighting up the stadium.
They were joined by the surviving members of Chapecoense who weren’t on the plane to Medellín. They walked onto the field holding hands on what was supposed to the biggest night in the history of their team.
During the ceremony, officials released 71 doves into the air, which represented the number of people who died in the plane crash.
“It’s a light of hope when all of us are trying to understand what’s impossible to understand,” Brazilian Foreign Minister Jose Serra said of fans’ solidarity.
Chapecoense posted part of the tribute to Facebook and thanked fans for their support.
Fox Sports in Brazil (which lost six employees in the plane crash) aired a black screen with a game clock and the hashtag #90minutosdesilenco, or 90 minutes of silence.
H/T New York Post
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