World Cup 2006 Blog

From our reporters in Germany

Over and out

paul_fletcher.gif LONDON - Here I sit in my flat, surrounded by dirty washing, cut-price World Cup tat and a huge joint of cured ham that I bought in France on Monday.

When I woke up this morning Ricco was nowhere to be seen - most strange and somewhat refreshing after five weeks of my co-blogger being the first person I have clapped eyes on every morning.

There was no sand in the shower, a fresh towel to hand and the soothing hum of cars making their way down the A40 right next to the flat.

Pretty soon I'll be heading down to Ricco's house to help him clean Svan and then we will be taking him back to the hire place and saying our final farewell to the camper van that has been home to the last five weeks.

I'm not looking forward to that - and not just for emotional reasons. I've been trying to imagine the conversation in which we explain to the hire firm just how exactly brand new Svan lost his rear indicators.

I've decided I'll just play it by ear when I get there.

Svan seemed pretty popular in Calais and Dover, at least with immigration officials.

They made sure they had a pretty thorough nosey around in Calais (I suspect they thought fellow blogger Mandeep was on board, not realising he had sensibly decided to buy himself a flight home).

And at Dover an official asked where we had been. We told him Germany for five weeks.

He wanted to know why. We said we had been working.

He said a lot of people had said that and could we prove it. We produced accreditation and a whole bunch of tickets.

"Holy ****, you've got some souvenirs there" was the reply, as he waved us on our way.

And so our blog is over and I would just like to thank everyone who has helped us along the way.

I would also like to thank Ricco - read his thoughts on the trip here - for his part in it all. It is not easy living with someone you hardly know in such a confined space for five weeks but I think it went pretty well.

All the people who posted comments saying how much they enjoyed the blog - what you said was really appreciated.

And to all the people who absolutely slaughtered either the blog itself or just me - you did a fantastic job.

After all, if Aces had not posted comment one here I'm not sure an entire debate about whether I am a racist or not would have kicked off quite as well as it did.

And to all those who just bothered to read - thanks to you as well.

Anyhow, that's it. Back to normal life for me - almost.

After five weeks away from the girlfriend I am taking her to France for a few days - and I can absolutely guarantee that there will no blogging about that.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 12:46 PM on 12 Jul 2006,
  • It's all over now wrote:

Thanks, Fletch, for the very interesting blogs. It was a very good and interesting read. Many people from Germany were reading it and found you very funny. Thanks for everything, Fletch! And hopefully you will come back to Germany one day. Thanks a lot!

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  • 2.
  • At 01:44 PM on 12 Jul 2006,
  • ian wrote:

You must look more suspicious than I did after 18 hours on the road from Berlin, which I think must have taken some doing. Customs at Dover just waved me and my van through. Maybe arriving under the cover of darkness helped.

You don't think that the owners of the van might have already read about your indicators?

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  • 3.
  • At 02:00 PM on 12 Jul 2006,
  • Don Colley wrote:

Since FIFA are making a high profile investigation into the Zidane red card, when will they be having a high profile investigation into the Figo Head Butt red card against Holland?

Oops, sorry Sepp, not enough headlines? Is this an election year? I find FIFA's discipline bewildering at best, political most of the time, uneven and, at times, completely missing the mark.

I know this is off your topic of the day, but it is something that,imho, needs addressed.

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  • 4.
  • At 03:18 PM on 12 Jul 2006,
  • Eva wrote:

Hello Paul and Martin,

thanks a lot for your refreshing thoughts during the world cup. It was nice to see how the two of you travelled around and apparently enjoyed yourselves most of the time.

I'd like to second the comment on the shirts. I'd like to have one of these, too. In exchange, I could offer a shirt from my hometown Essen, where you stopped by on your way. How about that?

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  • 5.
  • At 03:20 PM on 12 Jul 2006,
  • Hayley wrote:

What did you and Ricco do to svan to make him have no indicators? think i must have missed the post!!

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  • 6.
  • At 04:47 PM on 12 Jul 2006,
  • Nick Pizzo wrote:

Now, the real reason,

- Media now will play into the hands of going against Italian win, and here it is.

No offence, I like England and its soccer , they are a great nation for soccer and there stars, but, in soccer history of media unfortunately from what I have read over my life time is,

The French and English have traditionally been very sore losers.

They can never accept defeat without finding someone or something to blame their inadequacies on.

For the English - Portugal is the villain. The English media sometimes has poisened the english speaking world to think that Portugal is dirty and takes dives - completely ignoring the fact that France won two games because of dives that Henry took.

The French have branded Italia cheaters and provokers - largely because they couldn't beat them. What they fail to realize is that they are just saying that Italy is better than us physically and mentally - because they can mess with our feeble minds.

Thats what this is all about, Zidane is now the victim also of his bad temaper , the press now will get a lip readers can make out is just another way to get back at a incredible defender born In Sicily 6 foot 4 and scored 2 amazing goals and did very well for Italia.

Here are rules of a captain of any sports team, maybe the press can pass this to the coach also of France:
get along with everyone
- being intelligent
- tactical minded player
- determination and stamina
- take one particular role
- gets the rallying point across
- leadership
- behave and support
- know the laws of the game
- show take on media relations
- if morale is down, bring it back up
- avoid confrontation
- do not be selfish
- do not be greedy
- team comes first
- and your country

thank you.


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  • 7.
  • At 05:27 PM on 12 Jul 2006,
  • Andreas wrote:

I support the media's questioning of the Italian win!

Italy only beat Australia due to a biased Referee. They themselves used or abused the media to get Frings banned for the semi final, even though the guy was completely innocent and only defended himself after he got smacked three times. With Frings it would have come down to penality shootout in the match against Germany and that Italy would probably not have won. Materazzi must have said something very insulting to Zidane. Why else would he reacted like that? You don't do that for being called a poop head!

Unfortunately Sepp Blatter can't really use any scandal now as he wants to get reelected later this year or whenever that is. So he'll be on the Italian side.

Thanks Fletch and Ricco for having provided fantastic articles as basis of our cross-cultural multi-national discussions!

See you all at the 2010 World Cup in England, the US, Germany or maybe even in South Africa! ;-)

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  • 8.
  • At 06:48 PM on 12 Jul 2006,
  • Hammertime wrote:

Well done on making no drama out of a crisis, Fletch

Enjoy France!!

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  • 9.
  • At 06:49 PM on 12 Jul 2006,
  • Wolf wrote:

Glad you two made it home safely. I hope you have a great vacation.

I also think your editors will be very pleased with how the blog evolved. It had humor, assessment, acceptable criticism, plenty of spectator perspectives, a desirable edge, and most of all - you were always true to yourself. Those who brought up the ‘racism’ thing wanted to see something that clearly was not there. That suggestion is complete nonsense. I really think you mates did a fine job.

Congratulations to both of you and all the best.

Andreas, Italy is world champion, period! Any further discussion is just a demonstration of an inability to accept reality. Stop crying! And yes the 2010 World Cup will indeed be in South Africa. ;-) Your suggestion is a display of unpleasant arrogance.

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  • 10.
  • At 07:45 PM on 12 Jul 2006,
  • Andreas wrote:

Wolf,

come on, there's always hope! My speculations as to the actual venue of the 2010 WC is profoundly researched. It's based on bild.de ;-)

You should read thesun.co.uk regarding C. Ronaldo btw. The guy has even switched off his mobile phone! ;-)...

You should watch Wattenheim vs. 1.FC. Kaiserslautern on DSF. Live. 0:8 after the 58th minute. Now that's entertaining ;-)

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  • 11.
  • At 10:13 PM on 12 Jul 2006,
  • Jailall Jairam wrote:

I think the World Cup was had a great success in Germany. Germany did a fantastic job as a host country. I was disappointed with FIFA altering the rules by clamping down on players who committed “frivolous fouls”. Most times they were not even a foul committed by a player but they were penalized for it. I think it took the fighting spirit out of the game. This also cause the game not to live up to it creative expectation. This world cup broke the previous records by not scoring a lot of goals. What a Shame on FIFA behalf!!! I also think the referee in the Final was superb.

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  • 12.
  • At 10:14 PM on 12 Jul 2006,
  • Jailall Jairam wrote:

I think the World Cup was had a great success in Germany. Germany did a fantastic job as a host country. I was disappointed with FIFA altering the rules by clamping down on players who committed “frivolous fouls”. Most times they were not even a foul committed by a player but they were penalized for it. I think it took the fighting spirit out of the game. This also cause the game not to live up to it creative expectation. This world cup broke the previous records by not scoring a lot of goals. What a Shame on FIFA behalf!!! I also think the referee in the Final was superb.

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  • 13.
  • At 12:00 AM on 13 Jul 2006,
  • Fan Fest Fan wrote:

It has been great reading your reports on the World Cup Tournament, your travels around Germany and all the interesting people you have met along the way ! Being English & living in Cologne, I have enjoyed many Fan Fest Events, met people from around the World and experienced for the first time how Football can be so addictive. It has been a delight that with so many thousands of people that there has hardly been any problems & everyone has enjoyed every moment. The Germans have been an exceptional Host and the Policing & organisation of this Event has been outstanding ! Well Done to everyone in making this World Cup 2006 a memorable experience

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  • 14.
  • At 12:16 AM on 13 Jul 2006,
  • Wolf wrote:

My fault Andreas! If BILD prints it then it must be written in stone. ;-)
Thanks for your recommended viewing but I’m currently on a different continent. I’m in Washington for the next few weeks and will go watch a friendly between DC United and Celtic FC tonight. Should be fun!

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Hey everyone - I'm so glad that you enjoyed our blog - it was hard work but great fun and I loved Germany.

With regard to the T-shirts - I'm going to look into this, see how many, if any, are left and sort out whether we can get a few sent over to people who asked for them!

And Hayley - read this:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/worldcup/2006/06/when_svan_hit_a_gate_1.html

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  • 16.
  • At 01:38 AM on 13 Jul 2006,
  • Blankenstein wrote:

FIFA's ranking system is unfair. Post world-cup 2006 Germany is ranked # 9. This is too low. England is 5th, Portugal 8th.

Germany can defeat England anytime. Germany can defeat Portugal anytime. Germany should be ranked above England, and above Portugal.

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  • 17.
  • At 03:04 AM on 13 Jul 2006,
  • Wf wrote:

Lieber Blankenstein,

How do you know Germany can defeat England anytime? You don’t!
How do you know Germany can defeat Portugal anytime? You don’t!

The new ranking system takes into account games played over the previous four years (compared to eight until recently) and also places greater weight on World Cup games compared to exhibition games. These changes plus our performance at the ‘06 WC allowed Germany to climb from #19 to 9. But based on this, England and Portugal should indeed still be ahead of Germany. Now we have two years to proof that we deserve to climb even hire.

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  • 18.
  • At 05:34 AM on 13 Jul 2006,
  • Kathy wrote:

England played poorly in Germany. I am surprised they are ranked number 5 post WC 2006.

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  • 19.
  • At 11:17 AM on 13 Jul 2006,
  • ian wrote:

"Germany can defeat England anytime". Really? Please remind me what the score was the last time they played.

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  • 20.
  • At 01:27 PM on 13 Jul 2006,
  • Helen Lindfield wrote:

So did I miss the final mileage - I have been checking assiduously but can't find if you've posted it anywhere.
I also spent many an hour reading the blogs whilst I was meant to be working and am at a loss to know how to fill the time now - it's back to Freecell I suppose!

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  • 21.
  • At 07:58 PM on 13 Jul 2006,
  • Falk wrote:

Kathy, the English team had a poor run at the WC, yet that doesn`t mean that they didn`t achieve anything.
Quaterfinals means they have been among the 8 best teams - out of 32, and accordingly they are avarded with quite a lot of points for the fifa - ranking.
Unfortunly they never got into the flow - but don`t be to hard on them.
Nach dem Spiel ist vor dem Spiel.
(After the match is before the match.)

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