Sunday, July 09, 2006

Ready, Set, Draw

The Tunisia-Saudi Arabia game was billed as the weakest match-up of the 48 opening round games, and in that sense it lived up to the advanced billing. There was a noticeable difference in skill between these two teams and the others we had seen throughout the week. Someone told us earlier in the week that if we had enough to drink at the Hofbrauhaus, the game would look just like Barcelona vs. Real Madrid. I wish we had remembered that advice.

But the game still had its moments. The Tunisian crowd was a lively bunch and celebrated the first goal of the game with a traditional, albeit illegal celebration- the lighting of a flare.

This happens quite regularly at soccer matches in Europe, but orange jacket-clad security were still quick to move in once the pyrotechnics were ignited. The Tunisians also quieted down considerably once the Saudis tied the game at one.

Since tickets were relatively easy to come by for this game, there were a large number of Germans in the crowd who saw this as their best chance to see a game in person. There were so many, in fact, that they were able to get some German chants and cheers going at halftime. And with the Germany-Poland game scheduled to kickoff in Dortmund an hour after the end of this match, we, along with the majority of the Germans, headed for the exits early. Unfortunately, we left a 1-1 match and missed two goals in the last ten minutes (the game ended 2-2,) but considering the throng we saw on the way into the game, this was definitely a smart move.

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