World Cup 2006 Blog

From our reporters in Germany

Homeward bound

MartinTHE ENGLISH CHANNEL – Our ferry will shortly dock at Dover and our blog adventure will come to an end.

It’s quite hard to look back over the last few weeks as it seemed to whip by so quickly, the memories are all a bit of blur at the moment, but I’m sure in a few weeks I’ll be able to pinpoint my favourite incidents more clearly.

Check out the video as we say goodbye to mainland Europe

That said I’m going to give it a go now, otherwise how else would you ever know, unless you bump into me in a grimy pub complaining about how much better life was like at the World Cup – probably more likely than you think.

First the raw statistics: 35 days, more than 4,000 miles, one new immobiliser and a patched up bumper have taken us to (deep breath) – Banbury, London, Mons, Luxembourg, Dortmund, Bochum, Troisdorf, Dreieich-Offenthal, Frankfurt, Hockenheim, Heidelberg, Stuttgart, Munich, Archen, Baden-Baden, Ulm, Nuremburg, Bamberg, Leipzig, Colditz, Dresden, Hannover, Bremen, Hoisdorf, Hamburg, Gelsenkirchen, Rheindalen, Essen, Dortmund again, Helmstedt, Berlin, Cologne and back to London.

That’s 11 out of the 12 host cities – sorry Kaiserslautern.

It’s hard to pick my favourite place but I must say I was very surprised by Leipzig, I’ve travelled round Germany a bit before but never there and I was unsure of what to expect – unlike Fletch you see I have been ohne guide book.

I suppose we were fortunate in that we hit it on the day of Germany’s second-round victory and when Argentina and Mexico were in town, but still the place had a real buzz about it and it was really heavy hearts we had to leave the party just at it was starting – ah the troubles we went through for you dear readers.

The best party we did stick around for was in Stuttgart, after Holland had beaten the Ivory Coast and the Dutch were painting the town centre a very vibrant shade of orange.

I can’t say I had a bad experience with anybody that I met, although my late-night conversation with two Canadians – one of whom had spent time in prison and the other who kept offering to show me his gun – was a little uncomfortable.

Certainly the best group I met were the German lads who fed and watered us in Helmstedt, and when we left it was like the parting of life-long friends, I really hope to see them again soon.

But as had been said on this blog many times before, the Germans were exceptional hosts and really went out of their way to help us in any way they could.

Having not seen a lot of the football, especially in the group stages, it’s difficult for me to get involved in the whole best player/match/goal debate, but I will anyway.

BEST GOAL – Fabio Grosso for Italy in the semi-final against Germany, just for the composure and control needed to score at such a vital time, superb.

BEST PLAYER – Another Italian, Fabio Cannavaro, who was magnificent in every game I saw him play.

A thorny subject I know but I don’t think Zinedine Zidane should have won the Golden Ball after his ‘incident’ in the final.

BEST GAME – The final, if only because I had a clear view of the screen for the entire 120 minutes plus penalties, and was engrossed all the way through.

But a special mention must, of course, go to Juergen Klinsmann’s men who lit up the tournament with attacking football and passionate support from every corner of the country.

I obviously can’t get away with summing up the trip without mentioning the little coming together between Svan and a metal gate – a low point for me, Svan and Fletch and myself’s relationship.

I also have to mention the food, of which there was a lot, and hereby announce my roast duck with dumplings and red cabbage in Munich as the pick of the lot - the worst was the barely cooked bratwurst at the Gelsenkirchen fan fest.

As for the beer, I’ve brought back a decent amount of Hefe-Weizen, which will be of interest to a lot of my friends who will be expecting an announcement of a BBQ in the near future.

I’ve also brought back a spectacular amount of World Cup tat – from whistles and flags to hats and the most awful shirt you could ever dream of, all costing between one and two Euro.

All in all it has been a fantastic trip.

Sure I’m tired, grimy and sick of the sight of campsite toilets but there is no place I would have rather been during the tournament than in the thick of it.

I hope you’ve all enjoyed taking the journey with us – thanks again for all the suggestions and comments, good and bad, without you it would never have been so much fun.

The white cliffs are looming large now and it’s time for me to sign off.

Tschuss bloggers, auf wiedersehen Deutschland!

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 06:25 AM on 12 Jul 2006,
  • florian wrote:

hi fletch & ricco,

many thanks for this great blog, i really appreciate that you rememberd my invitation. but as you guys were in really great company last night in cologne (i dont know if you are aware of joachim krol beeing really one of the most known german actors for a long time) i am sure you had a great final for your trip.
keep my email- adress , the invitation has not expired yet :).
and i am really looking forward to recieve an original "fletch & ricco" shirt.

cheers lads,

hope svan makes the last miles to bring you back to your WAGS, beds and showers

see you some day in germany

florian

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  • 2.
  • At 10:10 AM on 12 Jul 2006,
  • Hayley wrote:

Hey Guys,

Now the world cup is over what am I going to read whilst I'm sitting pondering the thought of actually doing some work!!

Great blog, has kept me very entertained,unfortunately I haven't had chance to look at the photos as the server at work blocks them!!

Hopefully you 2 will be on the plane in 2010 and we will have plenty more entertaining stories

Hayley xx

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  • 3.
  • At 11:51 AM on 12 Jul 2006,
  • Sloppy wrote:

Did you take a wrong turn at Hamburg? I'm sure I passed you on the A7 heading up towards Denmark. But I suppose there could bemore than one GB VW campervan in Northern Germany with a large St George's flag hanging out of the side windows

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  • 4.
  • At 12:26 PM on 12 Jul 2006,
  • Sadly it's over now wrote:

Hiya, Martin. Your blogs have some sort of cult status here in Germany, and many germans here want a Fletch and Ricco shirt. So will they go on sale, and can they be delivered to Germany?

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  • 5.
  • At 01:28 PM on 12 Jul 2006,
  • Tom wrote:

Hi Guys,

When you run out of Hefe-Weizen, you don't need to travel all the way back to Germany to get more. Just pop down to your nearest Majestics Wine merchant . They do have at least one, sometimes two sorts of Hefe-Weizen. My local store usually has a few boxes of "Erdinger" and sometimes they do stock "Franziskaner", both of them are quite tasty, although I prefer Franziskaner.

Cheers (or "Prost")

Tom

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  • 6.
  • At 02:51 PM on 12 Jul 2006,
  • Kath wrote:

You two guys have been great - I have really enjoyed reading your blog over the past month - sometimes it was the highlight of my day!- great entertainment, great comments and interesting debate.

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  • 7.
  • At 03:56 PM on 12 Jul 2006,
  • Greg wrote:


Awesome blog, can I come along in 2010?? I'm great entertainment and love meeting new people and will only be a total asset for you, I am also a pretty good cook and always look at things from both sides, "clouded judgement this one has not"

Thanks for the great reads from a great tournament.

Greg

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  • 8.
  • At 09:54 AM on 14 Jul 2006,
  • steve wrote:

Every morning first thing, look and see how the lads have been doing. Great blog guys, weel done Germany for hosting a great World Cup.
Roll on 2010.

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