The Orange are coming...
- 11 Jun 06, 08:43 PM
LEIPZIG - The World Cup finally arrived in the old Eastern Bloc for the first time in its history, although driving through the streets of Leipzig to the stadium (think Reebok with a bit more style) there was little sign of World Cup fever until we hit a wall of orange.
Like the English, the Dutch seemed to get their hands on 25,000 tickets whatever the circumstances and, with a healthy contingent of Serbs, it was a terrific atmosphere with not the remotest hint of menace.
Group C is clearly for Chelsea as Robben followed Crespo and Drogba onto the scoresheet. And, while Holland didn´t play brilliantly, the general consensus was they looked more convincing than England. The Serbia fans may do a nice line in bare-chested, shaven-headed collective nationalistic fervour but their team never really showed up.
I also got involved in a heated discussion with some of my overseas colleagues about the quality of the competitors here. Are these the best 32 teams in the world and is it right some the minnows should be playing when several decent European sides didn´t make it ? Should it be a global festival encompassing all four corners of the planet or simply an exercise in sorting out the best team ? Views welcome.
Driving back through the Potsdamer Platz into central Berlin, hundreds of gold-clad Brazilians are already partying before they play Croatia on Tuesday. It feels like the World Cup has really moved up a gear.