AT LAST – LET THE GAMES BEGIN!


Today is the big day not only people here in Munich were looking forward to – the entire soccer world feverishly awaited it’s arrival!

I just returned from the vicinity of the stadium with a whole load of impressions and pictures and will most certainly right away pass them on to you!
The day already started with a picture-book-weather which could not have been more beautiful – like requested and delivered in time! Considering the fact we barely saw the sun at all during the last few weeks and almost started to wonder if she was still existing and at times even ran around in winter-sweaters, it appears indeed like gift from heaven! The sky is blue with occasional small cotton-wood clouds looking like peacefully grazing sheep in the landscape and the temperature more than pleasant with a soft breeze … simply PERFECT!!

At Marienplatz while changing the train, I saw the first fan-groups mainly from Costa Rica, the adversary of Germany in the game which will start at 18:00. They were dressed in their colors and wore hats, on more quixotic like the other, hollering their slogans and waving their flags. Of course there were loads of German fans as well – pouring in from seemingly every direction.
I noticed a lovely incident while riding the escalator down to underground level: while a fan-group from Costa Rica was on the way up, one from Germany was making it’s way down. Once they were at the same level, they suddenly started shouting their slogans at the other group while people were waving at one another signaling, on the field we are adversaries but here we are friends.

The closer I came to Fröttmaning, the more people squeezed themselves inside the train and one started to feel like a sardine in a can. A large number of nationalities, smiling at one another and here and there exchanging some words had all the same destination – the stadium! Communication is never a problem – there is always the international language of gestures and smiles which is understood by everyone in the world. I watched the people and could not but wonder why it does need such a major every to discover that the others are humans just like oneself and that they can be real fun to be with!

The stairs up from the subway-level to the stadium were a see of colors with countless groups each shouting their own slogans resembling almost a mass-migration … I could not but laugh – I really enjoyed that!

Whom I saw around the waiting area, you can see from the pictures!
I talked a bit with two very nice and cooperative police men (rather one man one woman) and was told, there are during the entire games instead of the usual roughly 69,900 places only 59,000 available which are exclusively seats, no standing room. On asking why, I was told it was clear order coming straight from FIFA.

Security-wise I was assured, the police is well prepped. There are some 3000 police-men and women on duty to make sure things go smoothly and inside around 300-400 to maintain – if necessary – calm and order. I could as well watch a police-elicopter cruising without end high above the heads of the people.
The opening ceremony is in progress right now and the first game, Costa Rica versus Germany will start at 18:00.

I hope there will be at least a few people who start to realize that there are only winners when people get together in peace … whereas in war – there can be ONLY losers!

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