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World Cup 2006,
Germany

June 17-25, 2006


Planning for this trip began almost six years ago, when FIFA president Sepp Blatter reluctantly read the winner of the final vote to host the 2006 World Cup. The gears were set into motion.

Nutters
Reliving past glories.

Group Standings
Group standings during the first round.

Fan Mile
The Fan Mile in Kaiserslautern.

Las Senoritas
A Mexico fan with some lovely senoritas.

Police Station
Fans relax together between games.

Next vacation - Spain
Young and old alike enjoy the festivities.

A Brazilian fan discretely sneaks past the enemy.
Fans congregate in Heidelberg.

Dog days of summer
The things you gotta do for a bratwurst.

Fritz Walter Stadium during Paraguay and Trinidad & Tobago
Inside the Betzenberg for a game.

Trinidad & Tobago dancer from the parade
A dancer from T&T.

Trim that!
Not your typical T&T fan.

A wide variety of teams played in Kaiserslautern.
Teams that came to town.

Spanish fans could relax knowing that Spain was through to the next round.
Confident, colorful Spaniards.

WM Fieber

Germany last hosted the World Cup in 1974 and eventually took the title in München against the Dutch. Clearly the most dominant nation in European soccer with a pedigree surpassed only by the Brazilians Ė ten World Cup semifinal appearances, seven-time World Cup finalists, three-time European champions, and three-time world champions - the Germans were among the favorites to add another star to their uniforms this time around. With the Teutonic reputation for organization and efficiency supplemented by a field that sported all but one former champion (Uruguay has never recaptured its former glory), this yearís tournament had the potential to be a classic. There was no doubt that we wanted to be part of it.

Twelve cities were chosen to host games during the tournament including Kaiserslautern in the southwest corner of Germany. Since Dís parents make their home nearby, this seemed the obvious choice as a base of operations. For various reasons, the ticketing process for the World Cup is conducted lottery-style and well in advance of the tournament, so we ended up bidding in early 2005 for all the first round games in Kaiserslautern without knowing which teams would take part. D was lucky enough to get a pair of tickets to a single game in Kaiserslautern for the match pitting B2 vs B3. Dís brother also scored a couple of tickets for the same venue but for the H1-H4 match-up. Things were looking pretty good until the draw in December 2005 when D looked on in disgust to see that he had paid 90 euros (plus a 15 euros service charge) to watch Paraguay play Trinidad & Tobago. Dís brother B didnít fare much better with a final group game between Spain and Saudi Arabia Ė almost a guaranteed opportunity for Spain to field its B team. Adding to our sorrow was the fact that, with a little luck, we could have had tickets to the other Kaiserslautern game that week Ė Italy vs USA.

Tickets in hand, we arrived in Germany the weekend before our game to experience the festivities. D had gone to a number of games in 1994 when the US hosted the Cup, and while it was very exciting and a unique experience, most everything began and ended with the games. During this Cup, the tournament seemed to pervade the fabric of German society. Developments during the Cup were front page of every newspaper and lead stories on every news program. Every store seemed to have some soccer-related item for sale be it bookstore, bakery, or beautician. German flags and banners were fluttered on buildings and cars in a show of patriotism like nothing seen in post-war Germany. It seemed that it was all anyone was talking about - a veritable heaven for the soccer fan. Each host city organized a Fan Fest with an area to congregate, celebrate, and watch the games. Kaiserslautern had two such Fan Zones linked by a Fan Mile along which vendors sold souvenirs, food, and drink. Throughout the week, we ventured downtown a number of times to watch the games and the fans. Because of the games being hosted in Kaiserslautern, we saw mostly fans from Spain, Italy, Paraguay, Saudi Arabia, Australia, the US, and of course the host country itself. Trinidad & Tobago fans showed their colors during a parade down the Fan Mile. Every day was a party from morning to midnight with breaks in between to watch the games.

The closest the Australians will ever come to having the Cup.
Italian fans amused by followers of the Socceroos.

 

Trindad & Tobago fans added a lot of color to the Fanfest.
Make way for the T&T gladiator.

 

Fanfest provided a stage for almost any talent.
Balloon Man!

A two-hander.
Something to soak up the beer.

Ay Caramba
Voted most popular Spanish fan.

All hail the power of the host nation!
Everyone has an opinion on who will take the title.

There was no shortage of polizei in and around the stadium
Ready to roll.

Wait a minute.  I thought Saudi's weren't supposed to drink.  Let's see some identification.
Thanks to recent gas prices, Saudi fans could bring their own larger gold trophy.

Despite unusually large heads, the 1954 German team upset the Magnificent Magyars in what became Das Wunder von Bern.
A tribute to members of Germany's first championship team.

Everyone everywhere was talking about the tournament
German fans in a post-game analysis.

Fans of Los Toros were colorful and confident.
Viva España.

Participate in your own penalty shootout.
Aim for the upper 90's.

Dutch fans visiting a country.
Reminiscing about the '78 Final.

Despite making the semifinals 10 times each, Brazil and Germany have only met once.
A potential pairing for the Final .

Imbiss food - some of the best eats in Germany
Grilling them up.

The Scottish fans came to Germany but their team stayed home.
Even Scottish fans made the trip.

US fans dominated the scene when the US played Italy.
The Elvii point the way.

Each night provided new bands that reflected the musical heritage of the participating nations
Fan Fest at night.

Don't forget the mustard.
Los matadors get their Feuerwürste.

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