The FIFA World Cup is on and the Europeans go crazy for it!  Back in Australia, the only time I remember seeing the World Cup was when I saw backpackers in the hostels staying up until the early hours of the morning to see their country play.  I was never much one for watching the football (or the soccer, as we call it back at home).  But here in Berlin, I can’t seem to escape it.  In fact, I really seem to have taken quite a liking to it.  Every single cafe, pub, bar and restaurant has at least one screen, and if not, computers are open, sometimes even in the backs of people’s cars, so that they can stream the game live on the streets.

I managed to see no less than four complete matches one weekend.  With a crowd of international friends around me, I was able to cheer on Mexico with a crowd of Mexicans, watch Germany triumph with Germans, see an English friend’s eyes light up as England scored 6-1 and cry for the Socceroos with a bunch of Aussies as they left the competition.  “Keine Party für das Australische Team heute Abend” I heard the referee say, which means “No party for the Australian team tonight!”  A small buzz of satisfaction ran through me at being able to understand some of the German commentary, despite the unsatisfactory result of the game!

I have an extensive football card and sticker collection at work and have been madly swapping with the children to try and complete my collection. Somehow, I acquired a set of stickers that represent the Australian team, so when I saw them play, it was like my football stickers had come to life on field!  I have even started recognising famous footballers on billboards on the street.

Football Fever in Berlin has dropped down a notch now that Germany is out of the running for the World Cup, but nonetheless, I will still manage to squeeze in a few more games before the end and look forward to seeing who triumphs – it seems to be rather unpredictable this year!  May the best team win!

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