LEIPZIG - As Fletch and I approached Leipzig city centre via tram this afternoon we thought it unusually quiet, assuming tonight's game here between two American teams was not accompanied by many travelling fans.
That illusion was soon shattered as the Hauptbahnhof honed into view - thousands of fans were spilling out of the main station and into the city's pedestrian district.
There were many wearing the light blue and white of Argentina, many more wearing the green and sombreros of Mexico, but today Leipzig was painted black, red and gold.
Continue reading "Overflowing Fan Fests"
STUTTGART STATION - Talking of celebrity spotting, the other night I was three rows away from one of the greatest footballers of all time. Maradona sparked a flash bulb frenzy when he popped into the commentary stand to do spot of TV punditry at the Spain Tunisia match.
The media and press are obviously used to seeing big names at games but in the presence of a legend, they flocked to row W10. There was the stocky one, his barrel chest bursting his Argentina shirt. He talked animatedly about the game, gesticulating like an Italian chef. Unfortunately, I couldn’t understand a word he was saying.
Continue reading "Top team talks"
JUST ARRIVED IN MUNICH - It’s a strange return to Munich for Patrik Andersson, the Swedish giant who helped Bayern win the Champions League final in 2001.
On his first visit to the city since he left the club after that triumph, I asked him if he’s fondly remembered here. “I hope so, because I decided the championship for Bayern,” he said, in reference to his last minute equaliser in the final Bundesliga match in the same season.
Continue reading "Patrik's second homecoming"
BAMBERG - At some point over the next 24 hours our trip will reach its half-way stage.
With two weeks gone and two weeks left to go, the World Cup has also reached the same juncture (though admittedly more than 50% of the fixtures have been played).
With this in mind - and the group stage now over - how do you think the tournament is shaping up?
Continue reading "The half-way point"