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October 16, 2006

That Croatia fiasco

England’s game with Croatia was the first time I’d been able to watch them play since the World Cup match against Portugal, but as I’m sure you can imagine, by the end of it I wished I hadn’t bothered.

Claire met me after work on the Wednesday, and we got the 170 into Salzburg as usual. We stopped for a bite to eat, and then made our way to The Shamrock where we had watched the Scotland and Wales games at the weekend. I didn’t know if they would be showing England, but figured they would have some football on at least.

As it turned out the guys were watching England on the small TV by the bar, so we settled down to watch the game. Towards the end of the first half Claire checked and saw that they had also put it on the big screen in the backroom, so we moved there. We got settled down, but then decided to swap seats, as I was sitting under a very low ceiling, and we were worried I might jump up and injure myself if England scored. Of course, at the time we weren’t to know there was absolutely zero chance of that happening.

The pub was filling up with some Irish guys and some Germany fans waiting for their match with Slovakia to start. I missed the first Croatia goal as I was ordering more beer from the waitress, but I couldn't miss the second. As Robinson’s air shot allowed Gary Neville's back pass to trickle into the goal, it was greeted with howls of derision and laughter. And again every time it was replayed.

Nuisanceczechfans When the England game finished Claire headed off for home, but by now the pub had three other games on so I stayed behind. Austria were taking on Switzerland in a Euro2008 warm-up game, Germany had kicked off against Slovakia, and back in the bar they were showing the Republic of Ireland against the Czech Republic, so I moved to there and watched that.

Obviously I wasn't in the best of moods after the England result, and the antics of one of the guys at the bar didn't improve things. He was making a real fuss because the Ireland game wasn't on the big screen. It didn't matter how many times the barman explained that the Sky box wasn't working in that room, this guy wasn’t having it. Eventually him and his entoruage of about fifteen people moved into the bar, and proceeded to rearrange the furniture. They got a load of bar stools to act as tables, and then sat in chairs around the stools. Firstly that meant that anyone coming into the bar now had nothing to sit on, and secondly they contrived to arrange themselves so as to block the view of nearly everybody else who had been watching the Ireland. Lastly, they then turned out to be supporting the Czech Republic against Ireland in an Irish pub full of Irish people – you can imagine how popular they were making themselves...

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