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A word of advice if you're going to the world cup. Firstly, if you're going to matches, do a little swotting before you go, and secondly, go having had more than 12.5 hours sleep out of the previous 72. Especially if you've promised to write about the game!!!

I went to Mexico v Iran yesterday. I can't give a match post-view or anything like it- firstly having done no research I hadn't the faintest clue who anyone was (althought the name Fonseca seemed vaguely familiar), and secondly, having had no sleep, I kept doing that "staring into space" thing and suddenly realise I'd missed about 10 minutes of the game completely!!

What I will say is that wandering around in a daze before the game, it seemed that everyone was wearing the same shirts (the Mexican away shirt is very similar to the Iranian home one from what I could see) and on entering the ground I thought only one team had brought any supporters. Being somewhat out of it, it took about 15 minutes for me to realise that some flags had horizontal stripes rather than vertical ones. It took me a little longer (the Iranian goal in fact) to realise that about half the people round me were actually Iranian. (I said I wasn't very observant that day!) It was all very confusing.

As to the game itself, the standard of football surprised me. In the first half there was lovely one touch fast free-flowing football from both sides. There were great passages of play where each team put together lovely passing movements, ending with shots on goal- in fact the only way either side seemed to get the ball from the other was after shots on goal. Maybe that was from a lack of tackling, or maybe it was just skill, but it was one of the impressions I did retain. In the second half the beautiful play was restricted to the Mexicans who had stepped up a gear, or maybe I was just a little more alert after 3 diet cokes!!.

One thing I did notice was the Mexican captain. For a start he had a pony tail and was very pretty, but for another, he seemed to be allowed to play pretty much wherever he wanted. At first, this was as a central defender (with the occasional foray to right back for variety). After a time, however he seemed to get bored of this and took to loitering with intent in the midfield. As, from what I could tell from the programme, the substitutions made were attacking ones, this didn't seem to be of the coach's doing!!! However, playing at there obviously wasn't satisfying enough either because lo and behold, there he was in the opposition box. His poor team-mates must have either 1) have been very confused or 2) been very versatile and used to him, because it didn't seem to reduce the quality of their defending and did improve the general link-up play!

The atmosphere in the ground was great. People seemed to be getting on very well and there was a lot of good-natured chanting. Also a lot of the women who turned out, after I came to a bit, to be supporting Iran were not wearing the traditional headscarf. This surprised me a bit, but it was great to see them joining in every bit as much as the menfolk. Outside the ground was fun too- the mexicans were very taken by any female with blonde hair and I kept getting stopped and asked who I was supporting. They were very charming as well!!!

I did, however feel sorry for the two daft England fans who turned up wearing their shirts. Given that Iran were one of the two teams, and the political situation being what it is, you might have thought discretion was the better part of valour. (I heard a lot of English spoken by non colour-wearing people) But oh no, not them!! They had to put up with things being hurled at them, and a rather large Iranian flag, held by 4 VERY large Iranians blocking their view. Fortunately they were of the wet and weedy English persuasion and after attempts to get the Iranians to move by polite request failed, they simply left. I dread to think what would have happened had any American fans turned up in colours!!!

So- not a match review, more a few observations about a fun day. I then went back to my hotel and managed more sleep in one night than I had in the previous 3. (So as you can tell, I wasn't staying in Nuremberg city centre!!!)

As to my original point, I've just thought- Australia v Brazil. They wear the same coloured shirts too- a sea of green and gold and more confusion. At least I might be able to identify a few players on each team this time though!!!

Edited by Jan
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