World Cup 2006 Blog

From our reporters in Germany

Football Breaks Out

BERLIN - As I write this, it’s two matches down, sixty-two to go. The highlights team are preparing their first show and I’ve just been out for a bite to eat having been the programme editor for the opening game.

For the first time, German flags are everywhere. The Berlin fanpark is located on the other side of the Brandenburg Gate from our studio, so there are thousands of happy locals thronging the bars and restaurants blissfully unaware of the caning their nation’s defenders have just taken from Messers Hansen, Shearer and O’Neill.

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Deadlines in Dortmund

paul_fletcher.gifDORTMUND - Ricco drove us through the night (more or less) to get us to Dortmund in time to do a piece for BBC World.

Alas, the technological aspect of our trip is not running as smoothly as Svan (our camper van) when Ricco is behind the wheel.

The search for a hotspot was pretty intense this morning but deadlines proved unrealistic and our webcam slot on the programme went begging.

The episode wasn't a total waste of time as we discovered that the headphones we are supposed to use are pretty dodgy.

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Winstone on tour

tom_geoghegan.gifFRANKFURT - There I was, chatting to Steve "Boo-boo" Smith (left) and Tony Yeates (right) about their drive from London, when their third musketeer saunters up, "Mr Tough Guy" Ray Winstone (centre).ray_203.jpg

The Hammers fan is an FA ambassador who watched England win at Wembley in 1966, aged nine, although he says his memory is just in "black and white".

The trio have tickets for the England matches and intend to stay the full five weeks, taking in a trip to Austria as well.

With countless away matches under his belt, Ray says it's a much friendlier atmosphere now than in the seventies and the Germans are putting on a great show.

"Even fans without tickets know they can come and see it on a big telly - that's great, they can watch the games with Germans and Brazilians and everyone else."

Counting down to kick-off

paul_atherton.gifIBC, MUNICH - Are there any readers from Peru out there? (!) I only ask because I made my debut on Peruvian radio station Grupo RPP last night, and was wondering how I came across.

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United Nations

HEATHROW - Here in the cavernous lounge of terminal one even those who are usually completely oblivious to football can't escape the World Cup.

I've seen shirts proudly worn by Trinidad and Tobago fans, French, Mexican, Brazil, Spanish in addition to hundreds of England looking nervously towards the boards from the pub to check there'll be in Frankfurt when they can still remember where they were going.

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Football mania in Munich

MUNICH – There are a whole lot of very excited people in Munich.


It’s still early but the crowds in the main square, Marienplatz, are already dancing, cheering – and drinking large steins of the local brew.

A clock on a big screen is counting down to the match. Can everyone really sustain this level of fervour?

I’ve seen lots of Germans wearing face paints in their red, yellow and black, not to mention silly hats, big flags and Hawaiian-style leis in the team colours.


The Costa Ricans may be fewer in number but they seem determined to make up for it in volume. For every refrain of “Deutschland, Deutschland, Deutschland” that goes up, a rival shout of “Oe oe oe oe Ticos!” swiftly follows.

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Sven turns the tables on Ferguson

phil_mcnulty.gifON A BUS BOUND FOR FRANKFURT - The fall-out from Sven-Goran Eriksson's brief but dramatic address about Wayne Rooney is still the day's hot topic as we move along the autobahn to Frankfurt for England's opening game tomorrow.

Even Eriksson's detractors were impressed by the way he finally laid the law down to Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson - a bit like a wife who has been nagged once too often and finally decided to chuck her husband's suitcases on the front step.

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The hunt for Shevchenko

paul_fletcher.gifA VERY BUMPY MOTORWAY, NEAR KOBLENZ - He didn't say much, nothing to be precise.
But in Andriy Shevchenko's defence when the pen was thrust upon him, the Ukrainian striker certainly knew what to do.

Check out the video

Perhaps putting pen to paper on a bumper deal at Chelsea a couple of weeks ago had primed the striker for a spot of autograph signing.

Ricco and I went to watch Ukraine's final pre-World Cup friendly against Luxembourg with the aim of persuading the Shev to sign a couple of 'Fletch and Ricco' Sport Relief T-shirts.

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In Munich for the opening game

mandeep_sanghera.gifMUNICH - Highlights so far included having a wander round the stunning Munich Stadium (where I will be later for the opening ceremony & game), being treated to a song from the German national team and catching a glimpse of model Claudia Schiffer...

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Win table football signed by Sven (and Pele)!

svensigns203.jpgSo our dynamic duo (Fletch and Ricco) are already having adventures in their camper van and to celebrate the big K.O. we can announce a fantastic competition.

In conjunction with Sport Relief, we are offering a first prize of a table football signed by England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson and Brazil legend Pele. All you have to do is to answer the following question:

Fletch and Ricco are driving from London Television Centre to Berlin's Olympiastadion for the World Cup final. If they were to drive directly (and they are not!), which of the following three distances is closest to the number of miles they would clock up?

a/ 650 miles
b/ 1000 miles
c/ 1650 miles

To enter just text "Blog" plus your choice of (a) (b) or (c) to 82125

Full competition rules here and best of luck.

As a special bonus from Fletch and Ricco, we can now add two special runners-up prizes of signed Shevchenko t-shirts into the prize pot.

Check out on video when Fletch met Sheva

Blog Editor, Alex T.

Photographing Beckham

Here's another snippet from Ross Kinnaird, the Getty Images photographer who is following the England team.

Beckham warms up during training on 7 June, 2006 in Baden-Baden, Germany.
(Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Beckham is once again the focus of the photographic brigade. I had to be quick shooting him warming up. It's a full turnout by the media again who are all kept a good distance from 'the action'.
I squeeze a 400mm lens in amongst the pack to pick Beckham out of the crowd. The light is good.
Roll on Saturday when the real fun starts with action goals and lots of Rooney and Sven on the sidelines.

Frankfurt warms up

james_bridgeman.gifFRANKFURT - What a beautiful city. Arrived on Wednesday to baking hot sunshine and a warm, friendly welcome - this will be our home for several days as Five Live covers the build-up to, and aftermath of, the first group game for England on Saturday.

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