9 June 2006
What do you do when you're in a World Cup city and you don't have a ticket for the game? Why, you go for one of the World Cup parties, of course.
Germany vs Costa Rica, Poland vs Ecuador: Standing up for the Germans
Berlin has a few places where the public is invited to join in and watch the games. The main area is a kilometer long strip right through the Tiergarten, Berlin's main park. Along this row, they have six - count that, six - double-story screens. Lining the streets are food vendors, and you're invited to sit in the middle of the street with the others.
We chose this to watch the opening game - Germany against Costa Rica. As you imagine, the home team had a fair amount of support. The road was packed, and you could barely move for space.
We tried to book a spot - remember, we had reconnoitered the night before, but the actual day was different. Busier, for one.
We sat down, ready to enjoy the game, but when the German team came on screen, everybody stood up. Basically, if you wanted to watch the game, you couldn't sit down.
I've stood up during games before, throughout all of the game, but I've never had nothing to lean on. Everyone had their rapt attention on the action before them, all supporting the Fatherland. I don't really want to say it, but it was kind of like a rally.
Germany acquitted themselves well. That's what comes of picking such an easy game to begin with. 4-2 to the Germans - who asked Costa Rica to put up such a fight? The Germans were caught out twice on the offside trap, so I guess that's what everyone else is going to try and
spring on them.
After that we rested awhile before the Poland-Ecuador game. The crowd, not surprisingly, dispersed before that one began. I personally don't get that myself. I do try to catch every single game in the World Cup, if only because the teams are generally of a high quality, and
because... well, because it's the World Cup.
Having said that, Ecuador managed to win easily by virtue of Poland's ineptness. I would loved to have said that my man De La Cruz (Aston Villa, rightback) was the difference, but he had a so-so game. Nothing special.
On the other hand, Poland's inability to construct even a half-decent attack was special in it's own way.
We ended the night with Gavin complaining bitterly about how crap Poland were, and then complaining bitterly about Polish supporters singing at the top of their voices, like they had won something. Even I didn't get that.
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