Stefano had suggested we should watch Germany play Italy together. I was not so sure. I had not watched a single match in the EURO cup so far, simply because most matches started at midnight or 3 am in Singapore. And that’s rough. And: it was Germany against Italy. And we all know that Germany cannot beat Italy in tournaments.
Stefano: Italy will lose. Gemany is just too strong…
Leo: I see what you’re doing. You talk your team down and then we go watch in the death of night and then you’ll bath in my misery…
I really like Stefano.
And I liked the idea of watching the match together at some bar or so. But again, the match had kick off at 3 am local time, so we would have to leave the house around 2:30 am.
Saturday night around 8 pm I sent a text to Stefano:
Leo @ 7:41 pm: I’ll take the easy way and sleep tonight. I’m beat and tired after a long day already and if I get up at 2:30 tonight I’ll be wasted on Sunday. Apologies for being a party poop.
I sent out the message an immediately regretted it. Yes, Germany would likely lose, but hey: what if they didn’t? What if this was the one time they’d beat Italy?
Leo @ 7:56 pm: Ah shit. Now I’ve sent you this and I already regret it. I might change my mind. It’s killing me.
Stefano was kind and generous as always. He was in the process of screening where we could watch the match.
Leo @ 8:35 pm: Ah shit! Let’s do it!
And we did.
I got up at 2:20 am, checked with Stefano to make sure he was awake and let him know I was awake and then called a cab to go to Chijmes, one of the places where there were bars screening the match.
As it turned out, Chijmes has a big yard where three big screens had been set up for public viewing. When I arrived at 2:45 am in my Schweinsteiger jersey, I walked in and was suddenly greeted by a drum staccato on my back – a fellow German, also in a Schweinsteiger jersey who had found a like mind.
While I was waiting for Stefano I looked around the public viewing area. Phew, I thought, lots of Italians here. Then Stefano arrived, looked around and said:
Stefano: Phew, lots of Germans here.
I guess we picked a good place. We ended up in a bar, sitting at the front with the TV right there and watched the match while drinking lots of coffee and juice.
And what a match it was. After 1:0 for Germany, Stefano was convinced it was over, while I was mumbling something about a curse.
Then the hand penalty caused by Boateng led to the tie.
Stefano: Maybe there *is* something to that curse…
I was expecting a goal for Italy in extension time, similar to the semis in 2006, but it came to the most exciting penalty shootout I’ve ever seen in my life. I don’t need to recount history here, but this. Was. Bloody. Amazing.
When it was Schweinsteiger’s turn to shoot his penalty I nudged Stefano, pointed at my shirt and said:
Leo: That’s Schweinsteiger. That’s my guy. He got this.
And then he shot the ball into the evening sky.
It yet took 18 penalties, but amazingly, in the end German beat Italy 7:6.
You have no idea how happy I was that I had gotten up for this match.
And Stefano took Italy’s loss very gracefully – he’s just a good sport.
I got home around 6 am, hoarse but really happy.
Well done, Germany!