On U.S. game day we took a taxi to the hotel of some friends who are staying closer to the central city. We left just after we watched the rerun of the Germany v Ghana match on TV in our room. Several people had said that it was the most interesting match of the Cup, ending in a 2 to 2 tie.
That was before our game last night (with Portugal) which also ended in a 2 to 2 tie. I am going to assume you saw the game so I will leave the reporting to the professionals.
After we got up with the friends, we walked around the Sunday downtown market. Every street for many blocks was closed to cars and tents covered restaurants in the street and booth after booth of every possible thing that could be sold. It was fun to see, but we all had a need for some money so we went to three different banks where lines of people were at all the ATMs.
Several ran out of money before we got our chance.
Pooling our money we decided the four of us needed to get a cab to the main shopping mall to try the ATM there. For some reason here none of the hotels change money and banks are closed on Sunday. Off to another mall. There was almost no one there and most stores were closed, but we found the ATM and were successful in getting money for all of us. We decided to eat lunch at the mall and tried a steakhouse that had big screen TVs to watch Belgium win. Have you got your Fellani wig yet?
Once that game ended, we taxied to the arena. It was about four hours before game time and summertime hot. We walked most of the way around the arena from where the taxi was stopped by security. We were allowed to walk in the area because we had tickets. We found a small restaurant bar area and settled in to watch the arriving fans in all kinds of crazy costumes.
Americans are as crazy as any. We saw Abe Lincoln, Uncle Sam, Captain America and our favorite was “wonderful woman” . Lots found a way to wear American Flags on every part of their bodies.
I left the guys and headed in the stadium about an hour before game time and they came thirty minutes later. The American fans were already in rare form and even in warmups were cheering wildly. Our seats were in the upper section but again on row C so we were quite close to the action. The heat was more stifling in the upper deck, but there was a bit of a breeze outside and on the walkways where the refreshments were.
This time they had Fish and Chips with local catch or hamburgers or hot dogs. It really was hot, but not any different than home at baseball games in July or August. Someone said one of ESPN commentators said something about large bugs, but we saw none. There were a couple of moths that flew by, but no mosquitoes or flies or gnats.
Like you, we were elated when we were winning and devastated when they scored at the last second. We know in soccer you play hard until you hear the last whistle.
My brief comments on the game would be how proud I am of our team. They proved to me that we can play with anybody. Both of the goals we gave up were caused by our mistakes and we still make too many at key times, but we make slot fewer than we used to make. There is still hope against Germany and whatever happens about the second round, we can be proud of how we have played.