World Cup 2006 Blog

From our reporters in Germany

First beer and final blog

mandeep_sanghera.gifThe World Cup final was the 16th match I’ve covered in 31 days at 11 different locations travelling around Germany on my own.

From the very first game between Germany and Costa Rica the atmosphere created by the host nation and all the other countries has been amazing.

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Africa's calling

mandeep_sanghera.gifThe next World Cup will be in South Africa and there are concerns over lots of issues to do with the host country.

But, while I still have worries, they've been slightly eased after the official handing over ceremony to South Africa.

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Milutinovic meeting

mandeep_sanghera.gifI generally look forward to my all-too regular four-and-a-half hour train journeys in Germany about as much as the third place play-off but my trip to Berlin held an unexpected surprise.

First of all I managed to get a seat!! Secondly, a former World Cup manager only came and sat next to me and started chatting about all things football...

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Don't underestimate Italy and pitbull Gattuso

mandeep_sanghera.gifDORTMUND - Italy held an open training session ahead of their semi-final against Germany and it was notable for the fact that there was not the normal array of prancing about for the cameras.

The players were put through their paces in the sweltering mid-afternoon heat and Gennaro Gattuso and Gianluigi Buffon, in particular, caught the eye.

Hardman midfielder Gattuso rarely holds back and he showed little sign of being any different during the session.
He reminded me of the description the German commentators use when describing Wayne Rooney.

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Brazil v Argentina - who wins?

mandeep_sanghera.gifON A TRAIN TO DORTMUND - Making my way around Germany I've noticed a contest between Brazil and Argentina exists on - and off the pitch.

I've seen Brazil play twice at this tournament and was in town when they beat Ghana last time out and there’s one thing that stands out.

When the samba kings are around everybody suddenly becomes a Brazilian.

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Verdict on that 20-card trick

mandeep_sanghera.gifNUREMBERG - The antics of Holland and Portugal's players stunned me as I watched their second-round match from the stands.

The referee was more like a croupier than the match official of a last-16 World Cup tie.
He dealt a record-equalling number of cards - 16 yellows, including four players (two from each side) being booked twice and seeing red.

Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy had to watch from the bench and said afterwards that he thought the referee had lost control of the game. It certainly appeared so from where I was sitting.

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German comedy ha ha?

mandeep_sanghera.gifFRANKFURT - Don't ask me why but I've found myself watching German football entertainment/comedy shows on telly a couple of times.

As I don't speak German, I haven't got a clue what they're babbling on about but the fact that they're taking the mickey out of events at the World Cup still draws me in.

And despite the language gap, it's obvious some elements of football humour are the same as back home.

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Maradona mayhem

mandeep_sanghera.gifThere I am sitting in the press box reporting on the Brazil v Australia game and who goes and strolls past me and takes up a pew a few rows down from me - just the great Diego Maradona.

Naturally, he came up to me and asked about how I was doing and asked after my family before arranging to hook up so we could trade stories and football tricks. I WISH!!

The big man (or not so big anymore) was puffing on a cigar and had been given a seat in amongst the crowd. What a shocker.

I thought this was asking for trouble - and indeed suddenly cameras and people popped out from nowhere to get a glimpse or shot of him.

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Lost earplugs

mandeep_sanghera.gifBefore I left for the World Cup our departmental administrator Kofi chucked some packets of earplugs my way.

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Hugo's there?

mandeep_sanghera.gifHANOVER - I'll tell you who goes there... only the legendary Mexican striker Hugo Sanchez! And, apart from interviewing him, another memorable moment saw the Mexican national team join me (well sort of) on the train as I left Nuremberg.

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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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About Mandeep Sanghera

mandeep_sanghera.gifI'm one of the football writers on the website and I'm basically doing what amounts to my dream job. I'll be reporting from some of the biggest non-England matches in Germany.

I was captivated by football during Espana '82 and have been in love with it since.

I got my break in the profession while at university and then had the privilege of working for The Daily Telegraph as a freelance journalist and then could not say no when I had the chance to fulfil one of my lifetime ambitions to work for the BBC.

I did a post-graduate degree in broadcast journalism as well and, although I'm sure you're probably nodding off by now, we have to do this to give you a little insight into ourselves.

My mum and dad will probably be the only ones enjoying it but I promise I'll try and keep you a lot more interested with my tales as I travel around Germany covering the World Cup.

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