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June 01, 2006

Ελβετια 1-1 Ιταλια

There has been quite a bit of pre-World Cup football on Greek channel ΝΕΤ this week - not that you'd have guessed it from the TV listings we get in the Athens News. On Saturday, whilst polishing off the last of Das Boot, I noticed Spain's game was on in the background in the bar, and on Tuesday night Brazil's exhibition match against "FC Luzerne Selection" was on. I watched a bit, but once Brazil were 6-0 up I kind of lost interest. And they say England play meaningless friendlies.

Football Last night it was Switzerland versus Italy. This was no meaningless pre-World Cup friendly for me - this was a serious scouting mission. Come June 19th I shall be in Dortmund for what is sure to be one of the crunch matches of the tournament - Switzerland versus Togo in Group G. Actually it might not be bad. Teams are usually more relaxed in their second group game, and both teams may be in desperate needs of points after their opening games, as I can't see Switzerland getting much joy against France, or Togo getting anything out of their opening game with South Korea.

However, I won't be in Germany at all if I don't get my tickets.

Not the tickets for the game, you understand. That was a really complicated transaction, involving an initial application nearly two years ago, a draw, a second draw, a financial transaction that had to be done via MasterCard as the official card of the tournament, then me submitting a change of address request, and then the tickets being delivered by courier to my parents back in the UK. And it went pretty much as smooth as clockwork.

No, the problem is getting my flight tickets to me, which is becoming a saga to rival the non-installation of our phone line.

First I got a call.

"Hello, courier"

"Yes hello" I said.

"[some stuff in Greek]"

"Sorry, I only speak English" I replied.

"[hangs up]".

No further communication or sign of tickets, even though I am in the house.

The next day, the same thing happens.

Then nothing for a few days.

Then I get a phone call when I am in the back of a taxi one evening. "We have some post for you, but we don't know where you live".

I start trying to explain, and then say "Actually, can I collect it?"


"What address?"

"[something fast in Greek]"

"Sorry, I don't understand"

"[more Greek]"

"Is it near Plateia 1866?"

And then what has become a great new catch-phrase came back over the phone.

"Sorry. I don't listen to you". Hangs up.

I'm sure he meant "I don't understand you", but somehow given the circumstances 'listen' felt more appropriate.

Then nothing for a few days.

Then last week Claire got a call, from a lady who spoke very good English. She explained that the courier would deliver the post either the next day or the day after. So I faithfully waited in both days, missing out on hanging out with our friends who were visiting, and of course there was no sign of a courier or even a phone call.

I'm somewhat at a loss as to what to do next - there are now only 18 days until I am due to fly.

Oh, and the Switzerland - Italy match? Pretty uneventful apart from an horrific tackle by Gattuso on Christoph Spycher which for a minute looked like it might put him out of the World Cup, and a wonder goal from Gygax on the half-hour to make it 1-1. He's one to watch against Togo I reckon ;-)

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Yikes. Are you still internet-less then?

I'd assumed that your blog postings meant you were all wired up...

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