First Day of the Semis
Thu 6 Jul 2006 0 °F
Phil and Kate head out to Munich for their semi-final game tomorrow, while Gwen and I head back to Cologne (and then on to Dortmund) for our semi-final today. Germany verses Italy, a classic battle, it should be a great game. This was our first time to visit the Dortmund stadium as well.
Dortmund had an interesting “wall” just outside of the train station. We got to see it because the local U was packed, so we decided to walk to the stadium. We strolled through their downtown area with was completed packed with people. The fan fest was on the same path as the stadium. We grabbed a variety of street pork and beverages along the way. We missed our landmark, red carpet, but still found the stadium in plenty of time.
It was a good game even though our seats weren’t so good. It was a very hot day and a good climb up to our seats. As you would expect, the crowd was nearly all German with only a small Italian corner section. The good part of the stadium was that the stadium was on a sharp angle, so all of the seats were closer to the field. The German crowd was excited and cheered the whole game for their team.
We had all worn our Germany shirts to support the home team and follow as many chants as we could. But the Italian defense was tough and only allowed the German team a few really good chances. But the chances they had were actually very good, but Germany just didn’t finish them well, they had some nice open looks. Even though Italy was not winning, they continued their time wasting tactics with everyone getting sick of their fake injuries.
As the game went to extra time, it seemed that the game would be destine for PKs. However, the Italian team suddenly played very well in the extra time creating several good chances. However, Germany survived those only to see more Italian time wasting, especially on their transition attacks. FIFA really needs to do something about all the fake injuries. Nonetheless, with only a minute left in the extra time, Italy found the goal when the German defense lapsed. When German pressed for the equalizer, they gave up a second goal and the game was over.
The German fans were very gracious in defeat and the team circled the field thanking the fans for their support. It was a hard lost, but one team has to lose. Unknowingly, we headed off for the next big adventure. We rode back half-way to main train station on the U but when we had to switch trains we decided to walk the rest of the way. The stop was actually in the middle of the fan fest, which was all but cleared out as well. When we arrived at the main train station, it was completely packed – wall to wall people, not moving at all. We walked around a bit looking for a place to wait it out. About an hour later, still no change in the situation. We waited some more, and some more, and… It looked like we were stuck, Dortmund had not anticipated this crowd. We thought of getting a hotel room, or taking a taxi all the way back to Cologne. We tried the main train station one last time, still no one getting in. Oh, wait. They were letting a few people in the exit ramps, we managed to get in, found a delayed train, switched tracks, squeezed into the first class floor space on the train and made it home. It was only 4 am when we got back to Cologne!