Schwabach, Elze, Hannover, Elze
Group E FIFA WM Stadion Hannover 21.00
Italy v Ghana
Arriving in Hannover to yet another carnival atmosphere it appears clear that the German idea of welcoming all fans has been a phenomenal success. So much so that every city you go to has made its own arrangements for public screenings of the games. Going through the city today it felt as the whole city was coming to the game as the Fan Fest in Hannover was less than 800m from the stadium.
I was told that in Hamburg over 30,000 watched the opening game on a large screen next to St Pauli’s ground. Going to the game in Gelsenkirchen I passed a stadium on the way which was hosting another Fan Fest, in fact some Polish supporters got off the tram at this stop as they saw the crowd and thought it was the actual ground.
It makes me wonder what the actual attendance would be classed as if they counted up the numbers viewing outdoors.
The proximity of these events to the stadium also means that there are more people at the stadium looking for tickets, which appears to have encouraged locals to try and buy up any spare tickets. There are countless people walking round the grounds with hand-held signs saying that they “need a ticket”. The vast majority need this ticket so that they can sell it on to someone else at a profit.
So it was good to see some hands being burnt tonight as there were plenty of tickets available. I saw tickets changing hands for face value and at the same time spotted a local tout paying €200 for a €100 ticket.
The evening got off to a raucous start as a brief clip was shown of Franz Beckenbauer on the stadium screen, visiting the different countries. The clip of Italy began with Germany picking up the World Cup in 1990. ￼
The Italian fans turned out in larger numbers than I expected, but had to contend with the majority of the crowd cheering Ghana on – especially after they were denied a penalty late on. Essien was outstanding for Ghana, who took the game to Italy. Of course this suited Italy and they duly punished Ghana with two goals. Thus it was a promising start for both teams as Italy usually stutter through the opening round.