An interesting day to stay in Frankfurt with it’s large immigrant ex-Turk population, with the two countries facing each other in the Euro 2008 semi-final. A huge screen was erected in the town centre and no segregation of fans was made (or required), beer on sale all day and very nice weather.
I was actually awoken around 10am by my mother ringing me to tell me a credit card had arrived. No huge deal aside from the fact that I didn’t get to bed until after 6am. Grr. So I spent the day online, popping downstairs for a rather nice chicken and chips lunch.
Evening came around, and one of the lads in the hostel – from Mexico – volunteered to walk into town with me to watch the first half on the big screen. You’d have been hard pushed to miss coverage. Every food or drink establishment had at least one screen available, with chairs outside and waitress service so you didn’t miss a moment. Those that didn’t normally have a screen had borrowed or rented one and fitted it in somehow.
As I said, Frankfurt has a large Turkish ex-pat population as can be easily told by the number of kebab shops around the station area. Great places to eat, by the way – cheap and large portions. This mix resulted in a fantastic atmosphere around the large screen area. Flags, face paint, chants, singing, all variety of shirts, hooters, horns, whistles… Just great.
There was limited room in the area immediately in front of the screen which was enclosed. Entry seemed to be free, but we opted to stand outside on the street from where we could see more of the crowd as well as having a decent view of the screen.
Turkey scored first and half of the crowd went wild. The Germans tutted and looked at their feet, the Turks waved those flags and blew those horns, dancing and cheering. Early days though, as Germany equalised before the end of the half. This time the flags waving were of three colours and Teutonic voices were in song.
As the whistle blew to end the first 45 minutes, we walked back towards the hostel where the game was being shown in the communal area. On the way, I picked up a McD’s – and hopefully wouldn’t end up in the same condition from it as the guy who was slumped unconscious over one of the tables with his head in a burger box. Strange as he was actually still upright, being in a little booth thing. See the photo around here somewhere for an illustration.
Back at the hostel, the atmosphere was buzzing as Germany took the lead and were pegged back again by Turkey. Obviously the hostel owners were home supporters and going mad with each German attack.
Then, seconds from the end of normal time, Germany popped in what was to be the winner. Despite an injury-time free kick, Turkey just couldn’t pull back again and the Germans went through.
During the second half, the picture kept vanishing which caused a lot of frustration to the home fans. It turns out it was something to do with a huge thunderstorm over Vienna which was killing the signal. It certainly made things tense when you had no idea what was going on for a couple of minutes!
With the game over, I headed upstairs to bed. After virtually no sleep the night before, I had to get some shuteye. I’m glad I had earplugs as the winning fans were speeding around the city in their cars, horns blaring, until after 3am.