Friday, 30 June 2006

World Cup Experience #9 Germany vs Argentina

Friday was a lot cooler than earlier in the week, and there seemed to be almost a 'hushed' sense of anticipation over Berlin - This was the big game between Germany and Argentina! In the office, everyone had zero focus on work tasks, and everyone was looking ahead to the big game... what would happen, where were you watching it...

We were off to the stadium again. This time I was lucky enough to get tickets for Nicole, Alan, Sonia and I. We walked to the ground (we had done the 'Japanese style subway experience' once, and that was enough!) and the atmosphere was very different to the previous 2 games that I saw there - it seemed a lot more tense.

Nicole and Sonia had their faces painted with a swirly, girly design and finished off the combo with matching pink world cup T-Shirts. I had a couple of German flags painted on my face (matched the Australian shirt I was wearing nicely!) and spoke to lots of locals about how I was now barracking for Germany now that Australia were out. There was much sympathy for the plight of the Aussies, and agreement that they played with courage and lost with dignity. Certainly the reaction from everyone toward Australians showed that the efforts of the Socceroos has even further enhanced the reputations of Aussies in Europe.

The Stadium was pumping! It was loud and the game was really good - this may have been the best match of the whole tournament, with great skills, good refereeing and a free flowing match. After an early goal by the Argentinians from a great corner, Germany seemed to lift a gear and with 10 minutes left it was level at 1:1! It went right through extra time to penalties - the German crowd was so tense! The German keeper saved 2 and Germany won! The crowd went absolutely wild, and we did too!

There were some ugly incidents between the Argentinians and the Germans after the match (The Argentinians didn't seem to like the idea of losing..), but it all happened so quickly, and everybody was celebrating so hard, that you would scarcely have noticed from the stands. I heard afterwards that they made a big deal about it in the TV coverage.

Afterwards we went back to the hospitality tent and had a meal and a few more drinks. At the end of the night, an embarrassed waitress came and asked Alan and Phil if it was OK for them to have the bread baskets back, which were currently on their heads!

We walked home again, and it had been a fantastic experience. Watching Germany win in Berlin was incredible, and to see so many Germans have true pride in their country and their national team (instead of continuously having to feel somehow ashamed about the past)- I think it may be a really important turning point for Germany for the future.

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