The hard bit is over – the nightmare train journey to get to the first game has passed; with hindsight, 3 cities in 24 hours seems a breeze; the high-adrenaline of the England-Paraguay game (the hardest in the group – trust me, the Swedes are rubbish) is a dim memory; now it’s time to relax.
So this is the middle part of our group campaign and what better way to kick back than to watch Trinidad and Tobago succumb to the god-like genius of Steven Gerrard. We don’t need the rest of the team to play, he can do it all by himself! (I made this prediction before the game, and was I right?!).
Here are some tips to help guide you through that crucial 2nd group match:
To prepare for Nürnberg, take a detour via the idyllic town of Offenberg so you can experience World Cup fever at a provicial level. An added bonus – Offenberg is only one stop away from the England base camp, Baden-Baden, giving you the opportunity to shout, “Sven, Sven, give us a wave, give us a wave, give us a wave” as you speed by the mountain-side resort at 150 mph.
Save money on food: taking lunch from the youth hostel breakfast buffet will cost you €1, whereas stealing from the hotel won’t (as long as the nice old lady isn’t looking as you stuff your girlfriend’s strategically placed handbag with a mini-picnic’s worth of Babybels, apples and Actimel yoghurt drinks).
Don’t miss a minute of any World Cups matches AND work on your suntan: congregate in the delightful town square where a beach atmosphere has been created with deckchairs, parasols and water jets for children (and drunk adults!) to play in. If the beach isn’t to your liking, then why not try the box seat – a deluxe makeshift restaurant on a raised platform complete with white linen, football-related paraphenalia and a superb view of the screen.
Show your national (or adopted-national) pride during Australia’s first game by getting kitted up with flags, face paint and sun-visors, only to find the square practically empty when you get there. No matter, a few Radler ciders or large Reislings and your vocal support will soon rear its profanitous head, despite the presence of local children. Well, after all, you are Aussie, you are drunk and your team is losing unnecessarily in a tense World Cup clash with Japan.
– When Australia finally wins the thrilling match 3-1, thanks to some inspired play by Everton’s main man, Tim Cahill, tie your flag to the small balcony of your street-facing hotel room. If you cant find any string to secure it, simply do the Aussie thing: use the rubber-elastic headband from your Speedo goggles instead. Bonza!
– Despite causing a tremendous scene earlier in the day, your show of support will be dwarfed later that evening. Over 100 screaming Italian fans, aided by a selection of horns, flags and drums, will make you wonder if you are still in Germany.
– Waking the next day with an Italian-sized headache, the weather will be Italian-hot so be sure to wear your shortest shorts. And if you’re thinking about wearing socks with your sandels, do not fret, it is still cool with the natives!
– Get ‘French Manicure White’ and NOT ‘Nivea Turbo Colour (not-so-white) White’ nail polish for those extra special St George’s cross toenails you’ve been dying to paint all week.
– To further break up your journey to Nürnberg, visit the city of Ulm on the river Donau. Whilst you are waiting to check in at the Jugendherdberge (Youth Hostel), do not fear when a gang of German youths approach. They aren’t out to get you, they just want to practice their English with stereotypical questions like; “Where are you from?” “How old are you?” and “Do you think Sven should play the 4-4-1-1 technique he so readily adopts, or should he punch above his weight against lesser teams, such as Trinidad & Tobago, thus proving England are a finely-tuned goal-scoring machine?”
– Germany bicycles. They like to be hired: Nothing beats cyling through the Baden-Würtemberg* landscape, discovering hidden lakes and stopping for lunch in beer gardens next to babbling streams.
– The best place to watch the all-important Germany-Poland game is a kebab shop, because;
- you will find two spare seats
- they serve you beer without the pfand/refund policy
- they have queue-less toilets
- you will see the game quicker on the small screen TV, as there is a time delay of about 3 seconds on the bigger screens outside which makes for some interesting three-part harmony ooohs, aahhs, and Es komme heim, es komme heim, Fussball komme heim*.
– When trying to sing along with the German national anthem, to demonstrate your goodwill, it is not PC to bellow “Deutschland, Deutschland über alles”* – the lyrics have actually been altered to reflect the changing times.
– Rather than trash the train to Nürnberg in true English style, maybe sit quietly reading an old copy of Time Out or NME or, if you’re feeling up to it, practice your German by starting a conversation with some very friendly locals about which region hat die besten Bratwürsten*.
– If the friendly local asks you if there is any difference between England, Scotland and Wales in the World Cup, you should reply with a resounding “Yes, England are good”.
– What’s the best way to psych yourself before the game? Is it:
- get tanked in the Old Town – shirts off, shaved heads, bad tattoos, pie-shaped bellies, taunting whoever is watching? OR
- conduct your very own mini carnival complete with costumes, marching drummers and plenty o’ rump shakin’, Triiiiinidaad styleeee?
– If you want to see your team leave for the stadium, just look for the biggest hotel near the main station. It will be the one with the word ‘Grand’ in its name and a helicopter hovering permanently above it.
– Once at the stadium, avoid those fans going in the opposite direction, taking out their false teeth with a look of menace on their tattooed faces. There may be trouble ahead.
– Pre-match entertainment is brought to you courtesy of the Korean & Japanese refereeing staff, whose tai-chi/jujitsu warm up is perfectly in sync with Abba’s Supertrooper playing over the tannoy. Priceless.
– During a close game, Sven will bow to the pressure of 30,000 fans chanting “Roooooooney, Roooooooney” and bring on the young scallywag to inject some much needed pace into the game.
– In post-win high spirits remember that riding down the luggage escalator in the main station is not clever! Especially as the German polizei are video taping your every drunken move.
– Nürnberg is a beautiful city, full of biergartens and quaint bridges and is probably best seen without 40,000 English fans running amok, so make a note to come back again one day.
– Before you leave, be sure to have the Nürnbergen bratwürst*. These mini sausages are eaten three at a time in a small baguette. Make them your late meal at the Opera house biergarten and then, if it takes your fancy, head for the red light district, only metres away on the conveniently named Frauenmauer Strasse*, for a game of ‘hide the mini bratwürst’.
Thanks to some inspired play by young Aaron “Speedy Gonzales”
Lennon, the second of England’s group games was rescued from the jaws of utter despondency, to bump it up from a 6 to a 7 out of 10.
In closing, let me just say how glad I am to have pulled Serbia & Montenegro in the sweepstakes – the ‘most goals conceded’ title is mine for the taking.
*we take no responsibilty for the bad German spelling and grammar in this article