Saturday 1st July

Berlin, Frankfurt

Quarter Final FIFA WM Stadion Frankfurt 21.00

Brazil v France

After a few hours sleep on the train, it was time to find somewhere to stay in Frankfurt. Feeling tired I decided to use the tourist information office. Apparently Frankfurt had been busy for the last few weeks, and it was proving impossible to find reasonably priced accommodation in the centre. And so I was despatched towards the stadium I was told there was a guest house nearby and that I should go to the stadium train station and ask for directions from there. Off I went, only to find that when I got to the train station no-one had a clue where my accommodation was. The stadium is situated in a forest (hence the name Waldstadion!) so it wasn’t easy to work out which way to go, but I was confident it was nearby from what I had been told earlier.   I found someone who had a satellite navigation system and they offered to help. It showed my accommodation as being 2.5 km away!!! Not happy about this I tried to work out what was going wrong. I realised that the GPS was going by road and that we were right next to the railway line. Therefore my accommodation should be on the other side of the railway line and would not be more than 10 minutes away. My friend in the car was confused as I walked off in the opposite direction.   Sure enough after 10 minutes I came across a clearing, and found my accommodation. Sellotaped to the door was a note saying that reception was closed and that I should call a number for help. Having chosen, still, to avoid mobile phones I now looked rather silly as I had no way, stuck in the forest of making the call.   I walked round the building and found a door open. Entering the building I found a pay phone and dialled the number. No answer! I knew it would make no difference not having a mobile!   Five minutes later as I waited innocently outside, a car drew up and my lodgings for the night were secured. Now It was back to the city centre to watch the afternoon’s game. I headed for the Fan Fest which was on the banks of the river Main which runs through the city, with two large screens floating on the river.   As I got there the signs were just being put in place to say that the area was full. So I decided to move round watching the game from various vantage points during the afternoon. As the game ebbed and flowed it was clear that the whole city was breathing football. The streets were quiet, even the police in their green and white party van (as the Germans sing) were watching on portable TV’s. The only noise to be heard coincided with the action in the game.   During the evening game France got their rewards for a positive display of football, it is this type of display that Sepp Blatter has been encouraging and it has been a feature of this tournament that apart from the Ivory Coast, teams that have played positively have done well.   FIFA have talked about changing the ticketing, but how can I complain, when I got to see the games I wanted. Ok so, I became addicted to my computer in search of tickets and I had to pay a little bit more sometimes but I accept this. The lesson FIFA can learn is that too many tickets have this time gone to sponsors whose guests are impressed by lavish hospitality. I think I have the solution.   Following on from the massive gatherings of people in Korea to watch their teams games, the Fan Fests have been a resounding success and over 10 million people watched the opening round of games at these events. Some of which have…V.I.P. areas. Why not let the sponsors have their own screening where they can show their own products at half time or every time the action stops and leave the match tickets to the actual supporters.   I can foresee that in future FIFA may introduce these events worldwide as they could then attract even more sponsorship!!! Also official merchandise is available at these sites and there must have been a huge increase in the revenue received from merchandising.   Mein hosts have been excellent , and a big thank you to all. I have thoroughly enjoyed travelling all over the country, and although at times it has been hectic I wouldn’t change things too much.   Vierundfunfzig, vierundsiebzig, neunzig…………..zwei tausend zehn?