England vs Paraguay at the Potsdamer Platz

Today is the day of the big game. I always follow the progress of four international teams: Brazil, England, Italy and Malaysia. So, any game involving any of those for me is a big game. Any game involving two of these four is a Big Game.

However, the day that Malaysia plays in the World Cup is the day that the Malaysian Football Confederation has cleaned its mess up and have decided to play football instead of politics, so we're stuck with only the big three.

I support England because I watch the Premier League - Go Villa! - and I know most of their players. Look: Robinson, Neville, Rio, Terrz, A. Cole, Becks, Gerrarrd, Lampard, J. Cole, Owen, Rooney, subs: Crouch, Hargreaves, Carragher. Can't do that for any other international team, honestly.

For this game, we decided on the cozy atmosphere of Potsdamer Platz, which is one of my favourite places in Berlin because of the architecture and because of the four-story Sony Centre. Unfortunately, the Sony Centre is closed for the duration of the World Cup, and RD2, a local TV station, has taken over the premises as their main studio. You can get in to watch games, but you have to get a free ticket first, and for that you have to queue up. All very organised, but a fair amount of planning is involved.

Security at these places is a little tough. They donít let you bring in bottles of water because (they say) you can fill them up with water and make them lethal weapons. When I was told I had to chuck my half-full bottle away, I immediately chugged all the water down my gullet. For some bizzarre reason, both Adik and Gav found this amusing.

We opted to sit in a restaurant, but shame on us, we didnít check if the menu on offer outside in front of the big screen was the same one that was inside. Obviously, the one outside was five Euros more per person.

As for the game itself, I thought England was okay. They got their early goal and managed to hold on to it. Gavin, on the other hand, complained bitterly throughout the game about Englandís Ďnegativeí tactics. He also thinks that Owen Hargreaves and Sven must have something on the side for him to have gotten so many caps for England. Iíll say it again: England were okay, they got the job done. Beckham was fine, Gerrard and Lampard worked well together and the defence was, on the whole, solid - apart from a few lapses. Unfortunately, these lapses in front of a better team might get them punished.

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posted on Saturday, June 10, 2006 - permalink
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