Australia - last 16 of the world

Trip Start Apr 29, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Germany  ,
Thursday, June 22, 2006

Nothing's easy. Not when you're a supporter of Australian soccer. I mean, thinking back on the 5 socceroos games that I've attended in the last year, I swear I've had 51 actual heart attacks of varying severity. Last night, I had 12. Seriously. Of the ones I can remember, the attacks that occurred everytime Zjelko Kalac, our goalkeeper, came near the ball, were the most life threatening. And perhaps rightsly so. Along with the rest of Austrlaia, I watched in horror as he managed to fuck up any role in the game that he played, most notably when he made the greatest error in the history of Australian soccer, almost costing us a place in the last 16. Thankfully, at its second attempt, Hanrry Kewell's right foot proved to be our saviour; delirium ensuing in Stuttgart and Australia alike. And after a good hour or more of mass Australian crowd singing to classic Australiana like "land down under" and "TNT", we were swept out onto the massive street party that had engulfed Stuttgart, seemingly involving every Australian in the entire world. Huge. Fucking enormous. Before the game, we envisaged riots in the event that we won. It seemed the logical conclusion before the match, given the many tens of thousands of croations around, including 40000 residents of Stuttgart, the quite scary pre-match chanting and flare lighting and the general reputation of croatian supporters. We developed an elaborate Stuttgart escape plan, part James Bond, part Money Train, part McGyver in inspiration, involving a helicopter, the sewer system, a matchstick and a comb. Thankfully, but also perhaps surprisingly, the ridiculously large and intimidating croatian support vanished into thin air following the game. Despite this mass exodus, the large Australia street crowd still found enough croatians to sing "You're red, you're white, you're going home tonight" and "You're shit but your chicks are hot".

Australia are through to the last 16 of the world cup. The Czech Republic, USA, Korea and Japan are not. As I've said before, the tide is turning and things are starting to fall into place. The significance of the last 16 may not be realised until the dreamsia ll over, but it will, at some stage. Bring on Italy. The only down side is that we have to head back to the massive hold in the ground called Kaiserslautern for the next game. I think we'll find a nice little town to chill in in the meantime.

So, the road trip. In short, we need some rest. Our time in world cup cities kills us. Absolute death. It's not only a few beers mixed the everlasting german sun, but it's also the emotional commitment, pre, during and post match. Given this, it was a real luxury to relax for a couple of days pre-stuttgart in the town of Reutlingen, under the roof and fine hospitality of some distant relatives of Snags. It was absolutely brilliant just to sit in a room, sleep, watch some football, sleep some more, sometimes eat and just do nothing. In truth, I don't think Kieran left that room for 3 days. Quality. And a venerable feast of Swabian cuisine was enjoyed at any excuse, from killer Apple Strudel in mid afternoon to german raviolo stuff called Maultaschen. Real food is all the better after having eatne only bread for what seems like forever. My body feels better for it. It would feel even better if vegetables were part of the diet...

And so to the Top 5. Well, while we're on food, we may as well stick with it. Reflecting on the food so far in germany, one thing dominates my mind - meat. Just a whole heap of meat. Sure = there's sometimes bread and cheese, but it seems it's all about meat. Meat everywhere. Meat in all forms. Here, then, are the top 5 forms in which Germans have been serving us meat:

5. Shaved strips like pasta
4. Cold cuts
3. spreadable meat
2. cutlets
1. sausages

We're going to rest in Heidelberg for a couple of days. Do it...
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