21 Jun 2006

watching brazil out-play australia live

we arrived in munich via salzburg at around 12:30. and we weren't the only ones who were traveling via salzburg. a large contingent of aussie fans were on the platform waiting for the train to munich.

once we were in munich, it was obvious that brazillian fans were outnumbering the aussie fans. the reason is not because there were more brazillians here, but the fact that you cannot buy a single aussie socceroos strip or even replica t-shirt anywhere in munich. we spent two hours trawling through sports shops in central munich and couldn't find anything. even flag shops were totally out of australian flags! but brazillian shirts were in abundance everywhere. i understand that nike makes the australian strip, so maybe they need to get their act together!

we headed for the allianz arena about 2.5 hours before kick off, and even heading out so early, there were crazy scenes in the underground platform and in the train as packed trains couldn't head out to the stadium fast enough.


the stadium was flanked by a pretty ordinary gravel track that was used to funnel fans to different parts of the stadium. on the way from the station to the stadium, people were offering to buy tickets off people. i heard offers of around 900 euros for two tickets. i'm not sure what tickets they were, but my tickets were 90 euros for two, so that's a 10 times mark up. not sure how successful these people were at getting people to part with their tickets after such a harrowing train trip to the stadium.


along the way, there was the security check, which was actually not really a security check, but a sponsor protection scheme. they confiscated any drink or food that is a direct competitor to the sponsors, such as water bottles, beer, non-mcdonalds food, etc. they even tried to confiscate some women's perfume bottle before a passionate plea allowed it through.


after passing the security check, there started shops designed to drain money out of your wallets with overpriced drinks and beer. even though budweiser is the beer sponsor, turns out that the german bitwelder beer was also a sponsor, but also 50c more expensive than budweiser.


there were massive balls with marker pens designed to be signed by fans. the ball i saw was mainly covered with australian signatures, but then again, this was the australian end of the stadium. since i got my tickets from the internet draw, i wasn't sitting with the australian fans.


in fact, most of the people around me were either neutral or brazilian supporters. there was a really annoying women right behind me who looked to be in her 40s, and screams on top of her lungs every time the brazilian got the ball. she seemed to be shouting something about "passing the ball to the ronaldo." by the second half, she had nearly lost her voice. i think the people in our section were all very annoyed with her.


well, the sad news is australians couldn't put up a fight to the brazilians, which bought them all back down to reality. the plus side is that the australian supporters were amazing. the game looks actually quite slow in real life compared to how it is filmed on tv. i don't know whether it was because the position where i was sitting. watching the game live was really fun and interesting, although the lack of commentary or even any music was quite weird. if the crowd was not into the game, it would be pretty boring. watching what the players do when they're not involved with the play was also quite interesting, for instance how the players move off the ball is really interesting, an aspect that is never really revealed in tv coverage. this is probably my only opportunity to watch the world cup live in the next decade or so!

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