Thursday, June 14, 2012

The EM in Paderborn

Soccer, or Fußball as it is called in Europe, is extremely popular here, and all over Europe. I am lucky to be in Germany this summer especially because I get the opportunity to witness the EM, Europameisterschaft, 2012. This is a soccer championship that happens every four years in Europe with EU countries soccer teams. Each country chooses their best players and they form a team to compete. The German team has 7 of the 11 players from FC Bayern, the best team in the country and a selection of four other players.
Die Endrunde der 14. Fußball-Europameisterschaft 2012 (UEFA EURO 2012; polnisch Mistrzostwa Europy w Piłce Nożnej 2012; ukrainisch Чемпіонат Європи з футболу 2012) findet vom 8. Juni bis zum 1. Juli 2012 in Polen und der Ukraine statt. Es ist vorläufig die letzte Fußball-Europameisterschaft (EM), die mit 16 Mannschaften ausgetragen wird. Ab 2016 wird die Endrunde mit 24 Mannschaften ausgetragen. Der Europameister 2012 oder, falls dies Weltmeister Spanien wird, der unterlegene Finalist qualifiziert sich für den FIFA-Konföderationen-Pokal 2013.
Germans are crazy about this stuff! Since Germany was playing last night, I decided to check out public viewing in Paderborn. In most cities in Germany, they have squares that are open to the public and they project the game onto a huge, outdoor, movie screen. Everyone stands (or sits if you're lucky) to watch the game. There's beer and food for sale at small kiosks and it's quite a hoot of a time.
Unfortunately, I completely underestimated the popularity of soccer in Europe and when I arrived at the square around 7 PM, there was no more people allowed in. And the game didn't even start until 8:45! (But there was a game before it that started at 6 PM, now I know that I need to be there earlier. Here's all I could see from the barriers at the entrance and the police officer stopping my way.

Since I couldn't get into public viewing and I don't have a TV in my apartment, I wandered town a bit more. How did I miss this fountain? I swear I have walked past it 75 times if not more and I have never actually seen it. Must be the trees. I walked back to pick up my bike and was stopped by a guy to ask me for directions. We talked for a while and he also works at Benteler. He asked me to go out for coffee with him today. I told him I didn't know but he gave me his phone number. Uhg, why do I always get the creepiest guys to hit on me here?

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