- 13 Jun 08, 10:00 AM
The 5 Live team has discovered it is staying in the same hotel that the Germans are using before matches at the Wörthersee Stadium in Klagenfurt.
It must be an efficient establishment, so imagine my surprise when I rang down to reception and asked for an iron and ironing board only to be told there wasn't one available until after the Germans had left.
Could it be I had unwittingly stumbled on the secret of Germany's success? Michael Ballack and co team ironing? Watch out, if Germany win Euro 2008, ironing might become all the rage...
You learn all sorts of things about your colleagues when you cover a tournament like this, but who would have thought Graham Taylor is a cheat?
When we picked up our hire car in Innsbruck, there placed amongst the Skodas - they give off the feeling that Euro 2008 is in town, no doubt - was a table football game.
As we had something of a wait, Murray v Taylor seemed the obvious thing to do. And not only is Graham a "spinner" but he also went as far as to occasionally lift up the table. Despite all that chicanery, the outcome was... well, modesty forbids.
The reason we had a wait was because we were behind a group of four, young Russians. The language barrier was something of a problem for them. More than that, they didn't seem to have much of an idea about how to actually drive the car. We found them sitting in it and going nowhere fast.
Graham decided to do his bit for Anglo-Russian relations and help out but was as successful at that as he was at table football. The Russians might still be sitting there now.
The commentary position at the stadium in Innsbruck affords as spectacular view as any I have experienced; right down the valley with snow-capped mountains on either side.
For the Spain-Russia game, we were surrounded by Spanish commentators, which is always lively. To say they were excitable is an understatement. They were in a frenzy from the moment they arrived until they went off air, with antennae sticking out of every piece of equipment.
When I spoke with Jorge (goal, goal, goal, goal, goal, goal etc etc) afterwards I was surprised to discover they weren't getting carried away. After all, even England have won something since Spain last did. I take it they have seen it all before.
One issue that raised its head during that match and the Germany-Poland game was the appearance of Brazilians in the European Championship. Poland have Roger Guerreiro, Spain have Marcos Senna. As far as I'm aware, despite having gained citizenship, they don't have a Polish or Spanish corpuscle in their bodies. Call me old-fashioned but that doesn't seem right.
Innsbruck also afforded the 5 Live team the opportunity to make an attempt on the land speed record. Up in the mountains is the Olympic bobsleigh track and what they call the "summer bob". It's just like the real thing, except that the bob is on wheels and there is no ice on the track, only the underlying concrete.
Graham was itching to have a go but sensibly ruled himself out because of his foot injury. So behind our experienced driver sat producer Phil Wye in the second seat, me in three and fellow commentator Simon Brotherton at the back.
As we sat wedged between one another's knees, helmets on, I did wonder if this was the wisest course of action on the morning of a commentary. It was exhilarating but I was relieved to find at the bottom that my backbone was still intact.
The morning after, we visited the Olympic ski jump. Right at the top of the "launch pad" there was another fabulous view of the city and beyond. But as you look down, just beyond the landing area, right in the jumper's eyeline, is Innsbruck cemetery.
It was then we decided we had been quite daredevil enough and from now one table football will be as daring as it gets.
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