Thursday, 15 June 2006
World Cup Experience #3 Sweden vs Paraguay
My week of 'World cupping' was going strong: Monday the Aussies, Tuesday Brasil/ Croatia, Wednesday a rest day (well, I stayed up and watched the German match versus Poland, and all the cheering and fireworks when they scored was incredible! They closed the fan mile in town - where they have heaps of activities and big screens - because 500,000 people were jammed in there!). Today (Thursday) was Sweden/Paraguay at the Olymiastadion again.
This time, no last minute tickets became available, so I went on my own (well, with lots of work colleagues!). I think after the Brasil match, I was expecting a bit of an anticlimax. How could anything live up to the atmosphere on Tuesday night?
The answer was - THIS!! It was completely different. Theodore Heuss Platz was completely full of Swedish supporters, singing, drinking and having a great time (very well behaved, too!). As I travelled to the ground and made my way to the marquee, it was obvious that there was an incredible number of Swedish supporters (very few Paraguayans), and they were louder and more jovial than their Brasilian counterparts. It seemed more 'fun' - almost as if the Brasil game was some sort of 'religious experience' compared to this 'party'.
The game started frantically, then settled down. At half time I snuck into some super elite lounge and had a few drinks, a feed, and a clean toilet. Headed out again to an interesting second half, with Sweden winning 1:0, although the Paraguayans tried hard and played some interesting attacking footy at times.
I decided that I would forego the public transport and walk home, and even late in the evening there was a sea of happy Blue and Yellow. There will be no need for the Berlin council to water for a month, as the Swedish supporters must have had a wee on every tree in a 5 kilometer radius of the ground.