Game Travel Day
Mon 19 Jun 2006 0 °F
Well, this was the dreaded game travel day as the group had tickets to two games on the same day in different cities – Hamburg for the 3 o’clock game of Costa Rica/Ecuador and then Sweden/Paraguay for the 9pm game. On the way out of Berlin, we did get a glimpse of the Berlin Wall. The part we saw was all painted up and not really what one might imagine, but still had an eerie sense to it. As you can imagine we didn’t see much of Hamburg – just a brief walk through a shopping strip next to the train station. The Hamburg train station was fairly large and kind of interesting on the inside. Ecuador played pretty well and out shone the Ticos. The game was as lopsided as the score was in this case. So, as is often the case in World Cup play, the group is mostly decided after the first two games, and Costa Rica will not advance. Their next game verses Poland will be just a playing-for-respect match for both of the teams. The Germany/Ecuador game will be interesting as Ecuador can challenge Germany to win the group.
The trip back to Berlin went smoothly. The Berlin stadium was one of the anticipated venues and didn’t disappoint. With its colorful blue track, we knew that we’d be a bit far from the pitch, but it was a very cool sight to see. The Sweden fans dominated the stadium, as you might expect. It seemed like they had chants and songs for the entire game – of course, same as other teams – these all sound remarkably similar This game was very much like the Germany/Poland one, as the Paraguay keeper was really the star of the match. He made amazing save after save, but also, at the very end of the game (again), one shot finally made it passed him. With the goal, the red flares came out – which we somehow have a knack for being close to. Again, they were far enough not to be threatening, just really cool to see. So, with two losses, Paraguay is also out of the group. However, this group isn’t quite decided as Trinidad and Tobago could still Paraguay and Sweden could lose to England (though that hasn’t happened since the 60’s or something). Oddly enough, it seems likely that England and Sweden will tie because that’s just enough to let Sweden make it through. But it would be incredible if T&T made it through (with a population of about 1.3 million, I think).