Posted: 7/7/2006
Title: 50% OFF


  Just saw a sign in the window of a souvenir shop at Munchen Hbf.  50% OFF ALL ARTICLES OF THE FAILED.....
That's pretty understandable in English.
There are millions of Paraguayan flags, Togo T shirts, Elfenbeincuste hats, Costa Rican scarves and lots and lots of GOLEO the Lion mascot (sorry I called him a bear earlier) toys, key  chains, postcards etc.
NOT very popular with the locals or tourists. The match tickets are boring, the commemorative stamps almost none existent, and not many people are looking for official posters.
Policing has been low key-but you knew they were there, although I didn't see a high pressure water hose anywhere.
  The hugely popular and fantastic FAN ZONES, particularly the Million Man-and Woman-Mile in downtown Berlin were a great success.
Even in small town Kaiserslautern it was fun, though the road tunnel under the train tracks was narrow and VERY dangerous with beer in bottles being sold nearby and then dropped and the crowd stumbling over them.
Transport to matches was free with a ticket on the day of the match-but too packed for anyone to check anyway. There were lots of very helpful local transport people and those of DB Deutsches Bahn, although the later could do with some competition, like the striking colors of rival train companies in Britain.
They say that FIFA President Sepp Blatter has 100 new ideas a month-and that 101 of them are bad!!
Well, he finally got it right agreeing with the possible solution of 3 yellows before a player misses a match. The fans in the stadiums and around the world want to see the entertainers on the field 11 vs 11.
  Too often very good referees with loads of experience were in fear of what Sepp and FIFA would say after a match, instead of using their instincts that had got them where they were.
I know that EUFA has a former FIFA ref assigned to ALL matches of the international variety that up and coming referees officiate at, and analyse each one. The same country team of referees and the fact that ALL have to be fluent in English does help. THere is NO WAY that anyone can succeed where teams and coaches, suvh as Holland vs Portugal, decide to do whatever they want. NATIONAL ASSOCIATIONS should be punished severely with long bans.
SMOKING-my pet peeve. There should be a rule . NO SMOKING within 100 meters of ANY COUNTRY. Its a bad habit and although the world is changing, its not universal.
  I went on a quick visit to Ljubljana, Slovenia the other day. A small, walkable capital city with the obligatory castle. Its not included in normal Eurailpasses, but only costs 7 Euros from the Austrian border. Lots of charming little cafes by the river but everyone has a cigarette in their hand.
Sunil Gulati the US Soccer Prsident is still around and talking to possible National Team Coaching candidates. He is very intelligent and perceptive guy-works for the World Bank, Professor at Columbia University and air miles to die for..
Don't know how many more of these 'blogs' you will be receiving. and hope to be off to Berlin tomorrow for THE BIG ONE.