Saturday, July 01, 2006

Italy vs Ukraine

Went to my last World Cup game last night here in Hamburg, Germany. It was Italy vs Ukraine and a totally lopsided match. Ukraine brought a knife to the Italian Gun-fight. Final score 3 to 0 for Italy. My seats were amazing, in fact the best seats so far. In the lower bowl section, 16 rows up, behind the goal near the corner kick area. When Italy were scoring their 2 goals in the 2nd half, It was right in front of me. I think the seats were so good, cause Hamburg was the largest of the stadiums that I have been to so far. Also the best of the stadiums in terms of getting in/out, much better than the mess that was Kaiserslautern, where I had to see 2 games. Sorry K-town, but I have no plans to ever visit you again. Yet despite Hamburg stadium being well located, there are still some things the Americans can teach the Germans about stadium building. Never in the USA would one build a stadium 1.5km(about 1mile) from the train/subway station. Could you imagine getting out of the 4 train at yankee stadium and then having to walk 20 blocks, well that is what Hamburg was like. While the stadium inside was nice, I have yet to come across any of the German stadiums built with easy access to public transportation. Makes the walk from the far reaches of the Giants Stadium parking lot seem like a breeze.

I took some decent pictures as I was sitting in the Italy support section, while a good crowd, still the most energetic crowd yet had to be the Australian section for that game vs Italy. They were by far and large the best, my vocal, most fun crowd. I mean anyone who brings a blow up Kangeroo, or even dresses as a Kangeroo takes the cake for fan section of the Cup. It was a total ticket buyers market. Before the game I had thoughts of selling my ticket, but there were NO BUYERS at all, in fact when I arrived 1hr prior to the game people were literally holding up tickets outside BEGGING to sell them, in fact a few were offering at half price when you got close to the stadium. Also I saw lots of empty seats, heck in fact the seat next to mine was empty the whole match. Yet so many Germans here were not able to get tickets and wanted to see a match, any match especially in their hometown, it seems depending on the game Tickets could be easy or hard. For both the Italy knock-out stage matches I went to, tickets were easy to come by. Yet people say for any Brazil, England or Germany match, you have to sell your first born child to get in the stadium.

Hamburg, the party never stops. Starting at noon, the people and kids were out in the street, face painted, wearing flags and jerseys. The game vs Argentina was not until 1700, but a 5hr drinking headstart was needed. No get this in Germany you can drink ANYWHERE. I am serious about that, no such thing as open-container law. So in the train station people are walking around with bottles of Jager, doing shots.. on the Subway, beers cans are everywhere, walking down the street. Heck I even took part of the laws, buying a large .5 liter bottle of Becks Gold for only 1.2Euros at a store and walking down the street and sitting in front of Burger King to wait for my friends to go watch the game. The aftermath of this is at night the street are LITTERED i mean freaking worse than New Orleans/Mardi Gras with broken glass bottles, this is not the place to wear open toes shoes or sandles, as you will cut you feet to shreds, you really need to wear some Shit Kickers.

So in Hamburg for another day. Staying with a new friend who I basically met off the internet on a prince message board, so far the Germans have been great as I have only paid for accomidations like 3 nights out of 10 that I've been here, For me this is perfect I couldnt have asked for anything better. Its a lovely sunny, 25 degree day here in Hamburg so I need to get away from this computer and get outside and do some sightseeing..Next up is a flight to Krakow, Poland on Monday, a few days there and then somehow making it to Budapest, Hungary mid week. Everyone have a good weekend, catch you later


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