As you move around Berlin, everyone is wearing a soccer related outfit, normally Germany or Brasil (my theory is that Brasil are easy to support because they are likely to win). With so many yellow brasil tops about, it is a bit hard to stand out in the Australian gold one. 'Weltmeisterschaft feber' had hit Berlin and everyone is happy and talking soccer.
The World cup was already drawing a lot of 'discussion time' in the office, even pushing the impending takeover of my company off the agenda for a few days.
Monday was hot, and I was excited! I had an invitation to the embassy to watch the Australia Japan match, and I left the office at 2:15 in my Socceroos jersey ready to enjoy the game. I caught the UBahn to the embassy, and after showing my passport, went through to the Bar (yes, the Aussie embassy has one!). The crowd was building (to about 60, Australians and a few invitees including some Japanese) and it was time for a beer - to my (pleasant) surprise the beer was free. A good sign for the afternoon to come.
The game started with the National anthem, then some good play by the Australians only to see no quality finishing, and a dodgy goal to the Japanese. I had a good feeling that we could make it up...
As the game progressed, I was getting mobile phone calls from Nicole, who wanted to watch the game at home but couldn't figure out how to turn on the German TV (a new home cinema system has made it a bit more complex, and this was her first go doing it solo). So when this was resolved, it was back to the big screen...
When the changes were made and the Aussies scored 3 goals in about ten minutes, everyone at the embassy (except the Japanese guests) went mad. Euphoria reigned! When it ended I left with a smile I could not wipe off my face! Whatever else happens in the World Cup, this was sensational! 3 goals in a game against Japan - even if we don't qualify to the next round, the Socceroos sure did something great on the world stage!.
I then headed off to the big screen at Potsdamerplatz to find some other Aussies and celebrate for a while. I took the opportunity to get some tickets to a later round of 16 game (to get into the big screen location). This was the beginning of the world cup experience and it sure ws a good one. I had yelled myself hoarse but it sure was worth it!