Portugal 2004: Day 11 – Time For Bed… Thinking Of Others

August 20, 2004

Wednesday 23rd June

Unfortunately all good things come to an end, our early morning flight back to Gatwick via Madrid was booked and we had to say goodbye to a brilliant tournament and hope England would do “the business” without us against our wonderful hosts. The food might have been a bit bland, the lack of organisation was at times baffling (especially when it came to signage and stewarding) and there is only so much Super Bock you can drink before you fancy something with a bit more character but otherwise Euro 2004 was a fantastic experience.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Portugal 2004: Day 10 – Bye-Bye Italy…

August 20, 2004

Tuesday 22nd June

Porto – Estadio Do Bessa – Sec XX1.

Denmark 2-2 Sweden – 26,115 – Tomasson 28, 66 / Larsson 47 (pen), Jonson 89.

Our last full day in Portugal was a really topsy-turvy affair. We had stayed up all the previous night, then spent the morning on an inter-city train heading north being intermittently woken by the ticket inspector, the onboard televisions playing satirical songs aimed at the English in Albufeira or bewildered locals looking for their reservations and discovering sweaty sleeping foreign bodies sprawled across their seats. We arrived back in Porto at 9.50 a.m. and within the hour had all crashed out in our hotel, a mere twenty six hours after we had left it.

Read the rest of this entry »


Portugal 2004: Day 9 – He Scores With His Feet…

August 20, 2004

Monday 21st June

Lisboa – Estadio Da Luz.

England 4-2 Croatia – 57047 – Scholes 40, Rooney 45, 68, Lampard 79 / Kovac 5, Tudor 73.

Monday morning saw the departure of four of our gang leaving just myself, Matt and Wolfie facing a rather long day ahead. Portuguese railways had done it again. Back in April when we bought our bonus England vs. Croatia tickets (55 euros each) there was a train scheduled to depart Lisbon back to Porto just after midnight. It might have crawled back taking five hours or more, but we would have made it “home” eventually. Unfortunately a couple of weeks before our departure the new timetable was unveiled minus our train. The first inter-city back didn’t leave until 6.55 a.m. Tuesday morning – getting back at ten to ten.

Read the rest of this entry »


Portugal 2004: Day 8 – Adios Espana…

August 20, 2004

Sunday 20th June

No game. This was our one day off, after watching six games in six days and the prospect of another two in two for those staying in Portugal we were all ready for a break to chill out and recover. It was also decision day for the locals. Their group, like all the rest, was coming to a climax with simultaneous fixtures in Lisbon (hosts vs. deadly rivals Spain) and Faro (Greece vs. Russia). With Greece expected to get the result they needed against the already eliminated Russians it meant that either Portugal or Spain would be going out prematurely. Spain had the advantage in knowing a draw would suffice; Portugal had home advantage but all the extra pressure that being hosts invariably brings.

Read the rest of this entry »


Portugal 2004: Day 7 – Riley You Incompetent Buffoon!

August 20, 2004

Saturday 19th June

Porto – Estadio Do Bessa – Sec XXI.

Germany 0-0 Latvia – 22,344.

For half our group this was to be their last game, they were flying home on Monday morning so we were all determined to make the most of it even if the fixture was not the most promising. What it lacked in glamour it certainly made up for in idiosyncratic appeal. Everybody’s favourite underdogs, Latvia were taking on the perennial grindingly efficient party-poopers of world football – otherwise known as Germany.

Read the rest of this entry »


Portugal 2004: Day 6 – Go Totti! Go Home!

August 20, 2004

Friday 18th June

Porto – Estadio Do Dragao.

Italy 1-1 Sweden – 44,926 Cassano 37 / Ibrahimovic 85.

Porto had turned yellow. After the orange of the Dutch and the red of the Spanish came the yellow of the Swedes. If the Danes were the funniest fans and the Dutch the most colourful, then the Swedes were the most sociable. Invariably they spoke perfect English and were knowledgeable about the English domestic game. They sang in English half the time (“Super Henrik Larsson!” “Sven-Goran Erikson tra-lala-la-la” “Go Totti! Go home!”) and even translated their favourite song for us that sounded great in Swedish but lost some impact in English (literally “stick the ball in the net”).

Read the rest of this entry »


Portugal 2004: Day 5 – We’re Not Going Home

August 20, 2004

Thursday 17th June

Coimbra – Estadio Cidade De Coimbra.

England 3-0 Switzerland – 28,214 – Rooney 23, 75, Gerrard 82, (Haas sent off 60).

Having seen the hosts avoid the ignominy of a premature exit it was now our turn to get serious. Having come up in the lucky dip we were all pretty excited about seeing England play away live in a major tournament. I’d been fortunate enough to see England beat Tunisia in Marseille in France ’98, but for the rest of the gang this was their “debut”. There were a few worries, the reputation of a significant minority of the usual “En-ger-land” away fans meant we were wary but we needn’t have worried.

Read the rest of this entry »