July 10th 2018
Today I watched the World Cup at Berlin’s Fanmeile. The ‘Fan Mile’ is, as the name suggests, a mile of fans that starts at Brandenburg gate and spreads all the way back down “17th of June Street” (yes, that is what the road is called, and no, I’m not entirely sure why it’s called that, but I’d guess that it’s something to do with the date Germany went out of this World Cup) to the Victory Column.
In 2014 the Fan Mile attracted one million people at a time. People flocked to Brandenburg Gate to watch Germany’s triumphant World Cup performances on five 70ft TVs spread evenly along the mile. This year, turnout is slightly less. I couldn’t imagine why.
(If you’ve not yet picked up on the incredibly nuanced football #banter, Germany are already out of the World Cup, and England aren’t.)
England play Croatia tomorrow, but today was France against Belgium in the other semi final.
To begin with, the Fan Mile had a good set up, but not much of an atmosphere. There were a mixture of Belgium fans, France fans, Germans, and tourists, so the crowd wasn’t overwhelmingly biased in one direction.
Nor, to be honest, was I. I just wanted to see a good game of football and a good atmosphere. And, although it wasn’t a high scoring game, I got my wish.
France scored the only goal of the game at a time when I’d walked off to get something to eat (a rookie mistake), so I missed the reaction to the goal from the main section of the fans. My currywurst was good, though.
The atmosphere at the end of the game more than made up for missing the goal celebration, though.
When France won, the organisers started blasting French music over the sound system, and every French person on the mile flocked to the front of Brandenburg gate to join the party.
As much as I would’ve liked to have stayed there partying with the French until the early hours, I am actually supposed to be here for work. So I took the long walk home, down the mile (that is actually, more accurately, 2.5 miles long.)
I’m going to go back to the Mile tomorrow for the other semifinal, and, well… if England win…
Until tomorrow, I’ll be staying there all night.