Posted: 6/22/2008


     Twenty years ago I was privileged to be high up in the Olympiastadion press box in Munich to witness a 2-0 win for Holland over the old Soviet Union in EURO 1988 when only 8 teams took part. It was Marco Van Baston's memorable 2nd goal after Ruud Gullit had opened the scoring that clinched the trophy.

   A month earlier I had been in Stuttgart for the European Cup final bore, PSV Eindhoven 0-Benfica Lisbon 0, and goalie Hans Van Breukelen had been the shoot out hero, and a certain Gus Hiddink the coach. Six months later I watched PSV and Club Nacional of Uruguay play another 0-0 draw in Tokyo for World Club title which Club Nacional won on PK's. Saturday night in Basel, Hiddink put on the field a superbly fit Russian team and tactically outplayed Van Bastons oranje warriors for a 3-1 overtime win.  Their star man, hero of Zenit St. Petersburgs UEFA CUP triumph in Manchester a few weeks earlier, Andrei Archavin can write his own ticket to fame and fortune with the continent's best clubs. A few visits to the sun tan beds and they will all be pop idols.

  St. Jakob's Park, and the centre of the city were a sea of orange, but the fans somehow feared the brilliance of Hiddunk, bankrolled by Chelsea tycoon, Abramovich who was there to see the victory from behind glass. Two hours ahead of Central European time, it was Midnight in Moscow during the second half.

   1,000 meters walk from our hotel in the cool evening after the match with a full moon and we were at one of those typical Bierfests and listening to the 15 man and 2 woman  OOMPAH band AM WASEN  as the revellers were singing at the dozens of tressle tables and the waitresses in their drindls and waiters in their leiderhosen served up the Mas Biers for 5.50 Euros (about 3 pints). and Radlers(beer and lemonade) for 1.5 Euros. The party, in a big barn  was organized by the local Huffeisenclub(horse shoes club).

   Next day Sunday borrowed bicycles, and rode 1km to Rosenheim Hbf and then 20 minutes to Prien Am Chiemsee. The parade was over, celebrating their 850th anniversary and arrived to see half a dozen gast-arbeiters.guest workers, collecting the tons of horse manure from the horse drawn floats that had passed by. 2km more to Stock Am Chiesee and the 15 minute ferry ride across Bavaria's Ocean 'to Herrenchimsee Island. Cycled to the Schloss, the Palace built and not completed by Mad King Ludwig II, and modelled on Versailles.

  Returning to the mainland we managed to find yet another Bier Festival, with lots of local guys in picturesque leiderhosen costumes and those distinctive Gamspart, Goat's Beard feathered hat adornments.  Back at the hotel for Italy vs Spain. As you may know 22nd June has not been a happy date for the Spaniards, having been knocked out in 3 recent major World Cup and EURO tournaments on that date. They had won the EURO 64 tournament 44 years ago at home, but it had been 88 years since they had beaten Italy. Well, you all saw the penalties, 4-2 to Spain and the cool as a cucumber young Gunner, Cese Fabregas slotting home the decisive shot and Iker Casillas saving two vital Italian attempts. Thursday is the semi-final in Vienna vs the Russians who they beat 4-1 in the group stages.