Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My FIFA World Cup Experience in Germany

During the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, I was in Mannheim taking the German Language Course, part of the 1-year training program I attended on Sustainable Urban Development.

Honestly, I'm not  a fan of soccer (Fussball in German).  So, when I learned that the 2006 FIFA World Cup was in Germany, I just shrugged it off.  I was not a bit interested, personally.  Ironically, my husband, Pat, who was then in Iligan City, Philippines, is a very big fan of soccer.  He was a player during his high school and college years.  And when he started working in the city government in 1996, he also became a player in the city government team.   One of his favorite teams is Brazil and he knows so many soccer players way back in the 70's to the 90's.  I told him in one of our chats that he should be in Germany, "this is your game."   And he'd say, "How I wish!".  As souvenir I bought for him, caps of Germany and Brazil.

Most of my classmates of the training also like soccer.  Yu Miao, from China,  is also a soccer player in his hometown.   So he religiously watched the games on TV.  We have the luxury to watch every game since we have TV sets where we are staying.   One of my friends was very naughty that for every game that we watched, he'd always go for the team opposite of what most of us like.  It's like, he'd always be our opponent.   And it was ok, it made watching the game together more fun.   The management of the learning center even put a bulletin board specifically to record the results of the matches.  :-)

My classmates playing the table football.  Guy in orange t-shirt is Miao from China.  Guy in white polo is David from Rwanda.  This is one of the recreation at Carl Duisberg Center in Mannheim, where we were staying.

The guy is Manoj from Sri Lanka, and the lady is Lai from China

Where was I?  Taking the photo.  I enjoyed watching them and taking photos as much as they enjoyed playing the game.

Almost all cities in Germany have set up their own big screens so the public can watch the game for  free, since the entrance fee to the stadium is very expensive.   In Mannhein, it was located indoor.  But in Frankfurt am Main, they had a very big screen in the middle of the Main River. 

This, what I know, probably is the highlight of the event.  Two screens, back-to-back, 
for both sides of the river.  This was really so cool.

 One side of the river.  People have just started arriving.

 The other side of the river, the area is almost full of people waiting for the game to start.

Every time the German Team wins, there are fireworks.   I have no photos as I am already in my bedroom, just listening to the fireworks.  The enthusiasm of the soccer fans, the Germans and the other nationalities  who traveled to Germany just to see the game of their team, reminded me of the fights of Manny Pacquiao, the Filipino boxer who has become the #1 pound-for-pound fighter of the world.    

The streets near Main River started to get crowded as fans go to the riverbank.

Fans of Iran Team with their national flag

More Iranian fans at the train station

Fans of Portugal Team

The girl in the center facing the camera  with a hat and blue bag is me.  :-)
The girl taking a picture, her back on the camera with black bag strap is Suvdaa, my friend from Mongolia.  The guy in shorts and orange t-shirt, Miao, and the girl in violet pants, Lai, both facing the camera, are my friends, from China.

The above photos were taken by my friend, Manoj, from Sri Lanka during our trip to Frankfurt am Main.  The game was between Iran and Portugal.  Portugal won.

 The football fans waiting in line to get into the riverbank.    
Photo taken by Mayura from India during our trip to Frankfurt am Main.

I was not able to take many pictures of the crowd and what the die-hard fans look like because at the time I was afraid they might get angry if I photograph them.  But when we got back home and looked at the pictures we have taken, I found out that my friends from Vietnam have taken photos of the fans and have even taken photos with them as souvenirs.   They told me that the fans were very friendly and were very much willing to be photographed.   Now, I regret not doing it.  I don't have a souvenir with the fans.  

Below are some photos from my classmate, Hoang Long of Vietnam.  His second trip to Frankfurt am Main with our other Vietnamese classmates.  The game was between England and Paraguay.

English fans gathered in Frankurt

 Some English fans who probably watched the game indoors.

 Trinh (from Vietnam) with an English fan

 Hong Long (the guy with eyeglasses) with some English fans

My close encounter with the Official Mascot of the 2006 FIFA World Cupa - a giant stuffed toy of the mascot of Germany.  This photo was taken outside a photo express shop.  I think Mayura photographed this.

Behind me are some shops selling World Cup souvenir items

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