Tuesday 13th June

Elze, Berlin

Group F Olympiastadion Berlin 21.00

Brazil v Croatia

Arrived at my accommodation to find a sign offering a ticket for Ecuador v Costa Rica in Hamburg at face value. Whilst in Hamburg last time a friend decided not to come to the stadium and try and get a ticket as they were worried about the security and the price they might pay. I had already dispelled the security problems and now had the ticket for him, for my next visit.

Five minutes later and I checked the FIFA website. First time of trying and I picked up game 48 Ukraine v Tunisia, OK so it shouldn’t be difficult to get in, but having the ticket now would save time on the day. At least that’s what I thought until I looked at my schedule. When would I pick up the ticket? I intend to be constantly on the move, and you cannot pick up tickets on match days unless you are collecting a ticket for that day’s match!

One aim at this World Cup has been uniformity, they are working hard to ensure the procedures are the same at all grounds. So having been to the ticketing centre on the past two days I thought I would be able to get in and get my ticket.

I didn’t reckon on efficient organisation, as before you could enter they checked your name against a paper list to ensure you were entitled to come in to pick up today’s ticket. Undeterred I found a way round this and went once more to the ‘troubleshooting counter’ where I picked up my ticket less than 6 hours after getting it on the website.

The atmosphere at the stadium was good as both sets of fans turned out in large numbers. I read that 5 Croatian fans had been sent home as they were caught with pyrotechnics at the airport. Well security missed 3 at least, as late on, flares were lit after a lone Croatian decided to enter the playing field. German security dealt with it efficiently, as instead of chasing him round the pitch, and him gaining the crowds sympathy, they simply left him and he wandered off at the side and was then led away.

The game itself was intriguing. If you had got the teams to swap shirts before the game, you wouldn’t have known the difference as the Croatians were playing the samba soccer.   After the game I heard that the Fan Fest at the Brandenburg Gate had been closed down due to the large number of people attending. First estimate I heard was over 200,000. The success of the Fan Fest has led to local competitions offering tickets to the large screenings as opposed to tickets for the match.