Beer, Bratwurst and bloody penalties – part 2

So five games down and still going strong.  I waived CMF off at Karlsruhe/Baden Baden and continued my journey north, to the sinful city of Hamburg.  Hamburg is one of my favourite places in Germany, ney Europe.  At Christmas the city is transformed into a massive market with stalls selling beer, food, beer, Christmas gifts, beer and of course beer.  It is a prosperous city, with locals looking down their noses at you unless your BMW is less than a year old, or your Hugo Boss suit only has one crease in it.

I had originally tried to get to see a game in each of the twelve stadiums being used in the tournament but initially logistics deemed that I would miss out on games in Leipzig and Hamburg. Dortmund and Berlin were obviously sorted as England would reach the final right? So when I turned up in Hamburg for the game between Ukraine and Saudi Arabia I didn’t have a ticket for the game, or even a hotel room. Continue reading

Beer, Bratwurst and bloody penalties…part 1

If Korea was my best World Cup trip then four years later in Germany provided a series of episodes, some good, some bad that underlined why we all love football.  There has never been a more accessible major tournament for England fans with literally dozens of potential entrance points, fantastic transport links and huge stadiums that should have catered for all of the fans who wanted to go.

The awarding of Germany as hosts was shrouded in controversy.  Sepp Blatter won another term in office on the back of promising to bring the World Cup to Africa in 2006.  However, when his cohorts came to the voting process, it all went tits up.  The FA had done themselves no favours by rescinding on a “gentlemen’s” agreement with Germany that in return for support to host Euro96, the FA would support a Germany 2006 bid.  Instead they themselves submitted a bid, conveniently forgetting that any such conversations ever took place.  July 2000 in Zurich was the date set aside to decide who got the tournament.

England still had the cheek to turn up for the voting, along with Morocco, Germany and South Africa.  Brazil had for some reason pulled out 3 days prior to the vote – quite a waste considering all their money was already spent.  Round one of the electoral vote saw Morocco eliminated with just 3 votes.  Interestingly enough, South Africa scored just one more than England with 6 and Germany were the clear winners with 10 votes, interestingly all but one from other European nations.  Round two saw England gain just two votes with eleven each going to Germany and South Africa so not for the first time in a World Cup competition, England left in embarrassment. Continue reading