How I got free World Cup Tickets

Do you believe it? Some people questioned my decision to go to Germany for the World Cup even though I didn't have tickets. "Have faith," I said. "Have trust".

A pretty odd turn of phrase from somebody who has long questioned the concept of fans celebrating organised sport as an alternative religion (the worship factor is there, the code of ethics less so). Yet, when you journey into the unknown, you must surely always hope for the best. Sure, bad stuff might happen, but the truth is that you can by and large prepare for the worst and greet the good with open arms.

As you may know, World Cup tickets are notoriously difficult to come by. The lottery is, well, a lottery, and direct buying over the Internet from third-party salesmen involve ridiculous sums being paid above the face value.

Nevertheless, there are always games where supply outstrips demand. And Angola versus Iran is one of them.

Iran just managed to qualify and are seen to be weaker than Japan or South Korea. However, they are seen to be potential dark horses who might have provided a shock result or two.

Angola is seen to be the weakest of all African nations and many have written them off to finish bottom in their group. Nobody seems to know much about them and nobody seems to know any of their players.

However, in a turn up for the books (albeit very slim, light-weight tomes), Angola are the ones in with a shout of qualification. If they win and Mexico lose their game with Portugal (which is very possible), then Angola could just pip the finishing post with goal difference.

Nevertheless, despite being a game to determine qualifiers, Angola versus Iran isn't enough of a draw to garner much interest. No star players, and both are seen to play dull, plodding football. (I think the latter is unfair to both - Iran run hard with the ball, and Angola aren't afraid to try the occassional outrageous play.)

Anyway, all that explains why somebody might not mind giving away those tickets for free, but it doesn't explain how I got them.

Well, they were given to me. By people I was sharing a dorm with. They are Australians who had tickets to watch Australia play Japan and really didn't feel motivated to travel to Leipzig to watch Iran-Angola.

Where did they get their tickets from? Well, here's where it gets a little more interesting. They got it (for free) from an Englishman who, it seems, was happy to give it away because he had a stack of tickets two inches thick and he wasn't interested in Iran vs Angola.

Bearing in mind that you are technically not allowed to buy tickets for more than four people for seven games, it's a little unusual that this man would have a stack that would easily come to fifteen and sixteen games. And it seems his pile included all the top games: all the England games, Brazil games, semi finals, finals.

Of course, all of this if based on hearsay from Australians who were drinking on the night they got it, so I have no idea where the truth really lies.

Nevertheless, for me, this is some sort of vindication, some sort of "Nyeh, nyeh" for those naysayers. Okay, so it's Iran-Angola, but the point is that - if I do get into the stadium - my trip to Germany did bear some World Cup fruit.

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posted on Thursday, June 22, 2006 - permalink
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