Back to top

Eine Kleine Dantmusik - Euro 2024 Day 8 22/6/24

Our Berlin hotel was rather swish. I guess any hotel that puts its indoor pool on the highest floor yet not on the roof is something of an indication of poshness.

That said, when I went up to the 7th floor to investigate said ‘pool’ it was really not much bigger than a rather large bath. I immediately thought of Mrs Richards’ line in Fawlty Towers when Basil shows her that she does indeed have a bath in her room: “Call that a bath?” she exclaims, “…it’s not big enough to drown a mouse!” to which Basil replies under his breath “I wish you were a mouse…” (Amazing part of a truly wonderful episode)

But I digress. I did sample the sauna next to the ‘pool’ and had a nice sweat-up for 20 minutes. A young Austrian couple was in there too and we got chatting about the game to come at the Olympiastadion-they didn’t seem confident that Poland could be seen off…funny how a defeat after going 7 unbeaten changes your positivity right there and then.

I can only say the most positive things about the Olympiastadion having now seen it and worked at it for the first time. It is a quite extraordinary place, brimming with history as you might expect given what has taken place there over the last century, both good and horrifically bad. Today was very much a good day.

The whole stadium seemed bedecked in red and white reflecting the team colours of both nations and it felt exciting and invigorating to be in amongst it all as kick off approached.

The hot food on offer in the media hub was restricted to some kind of green soup, so Benty and me decided to try a bratwurst from one of the concessions stalls outside the ground. Nothing spectacular about them but they certainly filled a corner. Benty then filled an ENTIRE pic ‘n’ mix bag with sweets from the stall next door!! I shan’t reveal exactly how much he spent, but as he paid for the sweets and me the bratwursts, I know I got by far the better deal financially! I also now know another German word - “Gummibären" - anyone want to hazard a guess? LOL

More friendly UK faces were back in the media hub when we returned with our tonne of wine gums and giant strawbs. Writer Rich Jolly was first to show and have a nice catch up, then it was ITV’s Seb Hutchinson and the delightful Jacqui Oatley (“Alright BAB!!!) who was swiftly extolling the virtues of a certain brand of eye mask to producer Izzy (I think she subsequently placed an order).

Warren Barton, the ex-Newcastle full back who’s working with Jacqui on games out here looked somewhat nonplussed as our conversation took handbrake turn after handbrake turn, as conversations between Jacqui and me usually do! The Guardian’s Ben Fisher was also nearby, but on crutches after an unfortunate foot accident on Day 1 of his trip. His mood lightened ever so slightly when I recalled the old Mick Miller gag that goes thus: “You know your big toe is just a tool to find furniture at 5 o’clock in the morning?” Good old Mick - check out his ‘drunk Noddy story announcer’ routine. Beautifully written and performed

Austria sure performed once the game got underway which I’m sure will have surprised and delighted the couple from the sauna earlier. Ex Hammer/Potter Marko Arnautovic led the line superbly, and Benty was absolutely right to point out the subtle yet pivotal role he played in Austria’s 2nd goal. As Prass sent the ball in from the inside left channel along the deck, Arnautovic made the slightest drop of the shoulder towards the path of the ball but had no intention of playing it, knowing his teammate Christoph Baumgartner was running in behind him with a clear route to goal. 2 Polish defenders bought the dummy, Baumgartner strode through and finished clinically.

I’d kind of made reference to the dummy in my commentary, but Benty rightly highlighted it straight away when he picked up with his analysis of the goal. Superb work from Benty - rivalling that of Austria!

Alex Crook, our chief football correspondent and talkSPORT’s resident Man Utd poet laureate/apologist came to see us at half time along with his producer Ryan Clancy. He’s been like Truman from The Truman Show since arriving here as it seems the rain follows him relentlessly wherever he goes…including today! Benty found this most amusing as he and Crooky used to rinse each other regularly on and off air during their old Sunday afternoon show together. No sympathy therefore whatsoever from Darren! I look forward to a beer and a catch up with Crooky somewhere down the line on this trip.

Right now we’re letting the train take the strain as we head west to Dortmund and Gelsenkirchen for our next 2 commentaries with a trip to Düsseldorf also planned to see a few of our colleagues over the weekend. I might even unpack if we have more than 2 nights in BVB Land!



Hi! Please know I appreciate your blog and am reading them most days. Last summer I had the privilege of seeing Pink with a friend at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin. It was a great day and the concert and the venue were amazing! I live near Kaiserslautern and despite hailing originally from Harrogate (before Gareth and Micah!:) teach for the US DOD on Ramstein AFB. Great job working ten months and the having two off to watch football and travel . Was not fortunate to get any tickets to the Euro’s. Went to the Frankfurt fan park for the most recent England game. Enjoy Dusseldorf, it’s my second favorite German city after Berlin. Safe travels.

Add new comment