Kris Fernandes is a FIFA accredited freelance writer based in Toronto. He has been actively involved in spreading the love of the beautiful game in Canada and abroad for several years through administration, media coverage and coaching. He also covered the 2006 FIFA World Cup live for CBCSports.ca with the popular journal series, "A Canadian in Germany". Contact Kris at email@example.com
BASEL, SWITZERLAND - I was back to Basel for the quarter-final clash between Portugal and Germany, and what a festive atmosphere it was.
I was willing to pay whatever it took to get into this game and within seconds of stepping off the train scalpers were offering tickets. There are many fakes being sold at the Euro so you have to do your research to know you're getting the real thing. I bought a ticket within 30 seconds of stepping onto the platform from a terrific trio of Swiss-African girls that wanted to have a Portuguese fan sit with them.
They had never been to Basel, so I showed them around before we stuffed ourselves onto a packed train of German supporters that were in full spirits, despite lacklustre performances against Austria and Croatia in the group stage.
Unsurprisingly, there were far more German fans than Portuguese, and all the flags and white "Beckenbauer is God" t-shirts dominated the landscape outside the stadium.
Inside it was more of the same, as one would've thought this match was being played in Berlin. We arrived just before kickoff and from the get go 'ze German' supporters were deafening with their chorus of "Deutschland! Deutschland! Deutschland! Deutschland!" The volume was turned up when they scored a quick pair and they continued singing various songs about Bastian Schweinsteiger throughout the match.
It looked as if it was going to be a long night for the few thousand Portuguese supporters until Nuno Gomes stuffed one in the net, which got them going in a rendition of "Portugal ale! Portugal ale, Portugal ale, OOOOH."
If you ever get to a major tournament, always go to the bathroom BEFORE the match. The paranoia of missing a goal is enough to hold it until halftime but the washrooms are so packed during that time you'll get back to your seat around the 60th minute. It was funny to watch those who missed the break anxiously hopping around and waiting for the 90th minute to come so they could go.
When Germany was up 3-1 and Helder Postiga came in I just knew Portugal was going to score one more, but sadly for those in the green and red that was as close as they got. Many Portuguese supporters were in complete disbelief, leaning against the rails with tears in their eyes, while most Germans remained in the stands for 45 minutes after the match.
The party continued well until 6 am in the main square of Basel, as German fans drank and sang like it was Oktoberfest in Munich. Seeing people dressed in lederhosen is too funny, especially when they are 300lbs and wearing what must be kid sizes!
A possible Germany vs. Turkey semi-final would be a mammoth match and though I love the Croatian team, for party's sake, I hope the Turks come out on top in this one.