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Wednesday, June 21

WE PLAYED well, deserved a draw, Kewell should’ve scored but he’s crap. With Guus in charge we won’t lose to Croatia, so next round here we come.

And if we avoid Italy (big if) I reckon we are a chance for the quarters.

Hooray!

No doubt you’ll all be pleased to hear I won’t be able to go to any of the next round games, cos I don’t have a ticket and I imagine prices would be skyhigh. I tried to get tickets to Netherlands v Ivory Coast in Stuttgart, but the going rate was €250 ($400), and for Spain v Tunisia it was €200 ($350). Sod that. I saw one bloke fork out about €500 or €600 ($1000) for Oz v Brazil, and one of Tommy’s mates paid the same for a ticket.

We got into Munich a few hours before the game, but the atmosphere was nowhere near as good as that in The Slaut. Maybe it was because the city is bigger, so the fans were more spread out, or because people were already at the ground. Or it could’ve been the calibre of opposition — I think at the last match all of the Aussies were just thrilled to have the oppurtunity to see such household names as Kawaguchi, Yanagisawa and Nakamura.

But who do Brazil have? Two blokes called Ronald and one called Adrian. Another one calls himself Kak. I can understand why people weren’t getting as excited as before. The trains to the ground were jam-packed, and the crush of people was like Japanese rush hour — for a brand new stadium I’m sure they could’ve had better arrangements.

The stadium is excellent though, we had seats in row 2 about 5 metres from the pitch — Roberto Carlos’s woeful free kick in about the 10th minute slammed into the netting right in front of us. Harry Kewell missed an open goal from about 20m directly in front of me. If he had scored we would’ve gone mental. I’ve now seen six goals in two games, and every single one of them up the other bloody end, dammit! The Dukes better put one past the Croats down our end or I’ll be very pissed off!

We couldn’t hear the Brazilian fans up the other end for most of the game — they sang when they scored and that was about it. Hardly any drums or whistles at all. What’s Portuguese for bandwagon? Or how about we come up with a new phrase — jumping on the Brazilwagon?

Fat boy Ronaldo

Before the game the songs at the stadium were mostly Aussie — men at work, acdc, midnight oil. It was the same at The Slaut — a nice touch I thought. I can’t remember hearing any Brazilian or Japanese tunes though.

Chantwatch:
Two new beauties both aimed at fat-boy Ronaldo:

To the tune of Go West:
You’re faaaat, and you know you are, you’re faaaat and you know you are
(repeat)

To the tune of Guantanamera:
One tonne Ronaldo, he weighs one tonne Ronaldo, he weighs one tonne Ronaldo, he weighs one tonne Ronaldo.

A guy from German radio (WDR1) obviously recognised me from my stint on Eurosport, and slyly cornered me after the game, and demanded an interview. So that night countless thousands of Germans were forced to listen to me murder their language whilst crapping on about how well we played, how unlucky we were, and how we would celebrate that evening despite the loss. I just need my photo in the paper and I’ve got the trifecta. If this continues I’ll have to get an agent soon.

I was also asked several times by supposed Brazil fans to swap shirts with them, but there’s no way I’m parting with my Oz shirt — what on earth would I want with a Brazil shirt anyway?

When games have been in Stuttgart the atmosphere has been a bit better — the Swiss and French were a bit lame when they played though. The Spanish last night were good, but the best were by far the Dutch. The turned Stuttgart completely orange, it was brilliant. A Dutch brewey called Bavaria handed out thousands of free bright orange lederhosen to the fans. The only problem was when they got to the ground they were told to take them off, because it violated the sponsorship laws (they had a big Bavaria splashed across the front of them) and Heineken weren’t best pleased.

It’s the Germany v Ecuador game this arvo, so I’m probably going to head into town and check it out.

Bring on the Croats, we will roll them, and then Thur night is party night in Stuttgart — I predict no sleep for me again. If you are in town, feel free to join me.

Enjoy the cup, wherever you are!

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Rich, the media-slut.

Richard Maddock

Bring on the Croats, we will roll them, and then Thur night is party night in Stuttgart — I predict no sleep for me again. If you are in town, feel free to join me.

Australia-Croatia slide show here