I slept the entire drive from Hamburg to Hannover and woke still tired. I’d just arrived in Germany that morning due to the passport mayhem I’ll fill you in on later. Jetlag was definitely impacting me but I’m a trooper! We parked maybe a kilometer from the stadium and wald to the Fan Fest, these town square setups in each city with a huge screen, beer (cheaper than water or soda), and food. There we watched as Argentina pummeled Serbia Montenegro 6-0 and the first half of Netherlands vs. Ivory before making the short walk to the stadium.
At the fan fest it was pretty clear that the Mexican fans outnumbered the Angolans. I met a number of people who had made the trip from Mexico. Approaching the stadium was walking into a sea of green. Aztec warriors marched alongside masked wrestlers and shirtless men painted in red, green, and white beating drums as princesses in green danced.
Small pockets of red-clad Angolas danced and sang, wome wearing robes, headdresses, and elaborate (costume) jewelry.
The stadium staff was friendly, the security about as tight as a Timbers game. I never had to show identification. AWD stadium in Hannover is a nice on, and the locals take pride judging by a conversation with the German next to me. Most interesting was the absence of tunnel-travellling. From the outdoors I walked a flight of stairs which landed me at the top, an immense landing jam-packed with Mexican jerseys. Sponsoring the concessions were Budweiser and McDonald’s, a familiar disapppointment though the sausage was alright.
The sound was amazing. Whistles, drums, elaborate wooden and plastic noisemakers, all kinds of trumpets, and ample yelling filled the air as I tried to work down my Budweiser after consuming quality German pilsners. Corner kicks and close-in Mexico free kicks were accompanied by ceremony- the entire stands stood, reached their arms out, shaking, yelling ‘woooooo—–‘ until inevitably the ball was possessed by Angola.
The game ended 0-0 despite maybe 100 good opportunities for the Mexican side, and a few good ones for Angola. After the game we drove to Cologne, once again I slept the entire time.