Check back here often as Adam Crawford delivers his reports direct from Germany. Crawfo will be following the Australian team in their quest for glory throughout their World Cup Campaign
Friday 9th June 2006.....
This is it AUSTRALIA! Itís time to celebrate the 2006 FIFA World Cup!
Words canít truly describe just how bloody excited I am right now!
Today I fly out to Germany to be a part of and experience the world game- the beautiful game at itís finest.
Whilst over there I will be a part of a hostel tour run by FFA Travel.
A few of the major highlights are sure to be attending all 3 of Australiaís group games against Japan, Brazil and Croatia, being a part of a massive Bavarian Bar Crawl, going wild at a samba party organized for Australia and Brazil supporters and also being lucky enough to get entry to a Socceroos training session.
It sure is set to be an absolute monster of a time and I will do my best to keep you up to date on both the football and the non stop partying!
27th June 2006.....
Be proud Australia!
Despite our exit from the World Cup due to a controversial last minute penalty against the azzuri the socceroos definitely showed the world that they can compete at the highest level and certainly raised many eyebrows over in Germany as to the quality and standard of our football.
Having just returned from a full on trip to Germany following the Socceroos I will now share with you my experiences as it was just not possible to provide updates whilst over there due to having so much fun!
Firstly I would like to say just how fantastic and welcoming the people of Germany were!
Australiaís first game against Japan was a must win clash in order for us to have a good chance of progressing in the tournament. An early start to the day, glorius weather, the warm up beers had began flowing and we were off chanting and marching through the local city streets of Frankfurt giving the locals an early wake up call you could say! We all board the "Aussie Express" a massive train transporting just us aussie fans to and from the matches. This was amazing!
One carriage of the train was a bar and disco and it sure did get a workout on the way to Kaiserslautern!
This little and apparently often quiet city was totally transformed into a sea of gold today.
It was absolutely packed, constant singing, drinking and hardly any Japanese to be seen.
The steps leading up to this Stadium have to be seen to be believed! By the time you reach the top you feel like you have just finished a marathon with many people stopping for rests along the way.
Australia vs Japan kicks off. We are in full voice and throw our support behind the boys right from the start. When we went down 1-0 in the first half I think it would be fair to say that everybody whilst still confident about getting a result but was also feeling frustrated and nervous as time ticked by. Then that last ten or so minutes was just unreal!
A flurry of goals by super subs Timmy Cahill and John Aloisi had given us a stunning
3-1 victoryÖanother masterstroke by the genius Guus Hiddink.
Celebrations were obviously in full swing as we all stayed back in the stadium and then partied on in the town centre and kicked on for the 3.5 hour train journey back to Frankfurt. On arrival in Frankfurt at midnight sleeping was simply not an option (same for most of the trip!) as I hit the town and partied alongside the River with fans of all different countries! I had been given a new nickname which would last for the rest of the trip and which would provide many interesting experiences along the way. "Chippa" was the name due to being a look a like to Scott Chipperfield!
Surprise, surprise the next day I had no voice. Of course the only cure to this was to continue the "healthy" football diet that many of us had been surviving on consisting of any local german food we could get our hands on and the best beer in the world ( Drink as much as you want and no hangovers the next day-
When we arrived in Munich I could not believe how many groups of police were waiting for us as we got off the aussie express train! One of the best attributes of Aussie fans has to be that we can have so much fun, drink so much and make so much noise yet still not cause trouble. In Munich the beer gardens and the Hofbrahous beer hall were probably the main gathering spots where fans of all countries would congregate, mix with eachother and enjoy themselves.
The Australian and English rivalry was always strong no matter where we ventured and for the most part was all in good nature- thank god we didnít play each other otherwise all hell would of broke loose!
The big day arrives and we make our way to the stunning Allianz Arena to watch us take on the world champions Brasil! You have probably seen pictures of this stadium before when itís glowing at night etc and let me tell you it doesnít disappoint at all!
To see the likes of Ronaldinho, Kaka, Adriano even in the warm up was Amazing.
It was strange in a way as we all felt so confident even though we would be playing against a full strength Brasil. Australia played quality football in this game and created some good opportunities but in the end went down 2-0. We seemed to open them up down the wings but just didnít have that killer instinct in us. The referee certainly didnít have our support as the foul count went through the roof! Australia did however win in terms of vocal support during the game. As in every game we sung our hearts out no matter if we were behind, level or in front but the brasilian fans as cheerful and outgoing as they are were left for dead!
The next day it was off to watch the Socceroos train in their "hometown" of Ohringen.
The locals here were just brilliant! A crowd of them waiting for us as we got off the train and some in traditional dress just added to the whole experience.
They had a band playing our national anthem and waltzing matilda, the mayor doing a speech it was full on! Just down the road we watched the socceroos train and in what was a very entertaining session due to the humerous songs that were sung for the players and of course a few streakers just to top it off!
The next few days I explored Munich and visited Dachau which was an interesting and moving experience.
June 22nd. The most vital game of all had arrived. Basically a draw or a win against Croatia would get us through to the round of 16. When we arrived in Stuttgart I think the whole trip was starting to take its toll on me, I was feeling tired and pretty crook.
But today was THE day so true to form I picked up my act, sunk a few red bulls, back on the liquid gold and got the vocal cords going again!
Once again the city centre of Stuttgart was chockers and I must give credit to the Croatian fans I think they actually outdid us in terms of visual effects on the streets that day.
There was a real emotional feeling to this match due to both teams having members with the oppositions heritage. We got off to a shocker of a start going down 1-0 after about 2 minutes. It was an empty feeling. The Croatians and their flares were going off.
Tim Cahill wins a penalty in the box which Craig Moore calmly converts. This is it we thought, just hang in there lads! Then Kalac, who had our hearts in our mouths all game made a dreadful error from an average shot on goal. 2-1 to Croatia.
To be honest at this stage I knew we had another goal in us but I didnít actually think we were going to put it away. I was praying, you name it, I was itching to walk out of that ground knowing Australia was going to progress.
Harry Kewell, the man that has done so much for Australian football and is such and important figure in the squad emerged and buried that all important second goal for the aussies! At the game I didnít actually realize the drama with the referee towards the end thatís how hectic and how much drama there was going on for the last 10 or so minutes!
This was more history making stuff for the aussies and capped off a truly wonderful, memorable experience for myself and all the other supporters in Germany!
The next day I did think about staying on and trying to get tickets to the do or die clash against Italy - if only money grew on trees!
All up the world cup atmosphere is just one of a kind! It really does bring everyone together and trust me it is non stop 24 hours a day, every day for the whole tournament!
So all I can say is itís definitely worth it, try and make it to a FIFA World Cup at some stage and itís an experience you will treasure forever!!