Watto's Euro 2004 Diary

  

It's the Big One, finally, for Paul Watson in Portugal.

  

 Day 15: Thursday 24 June 2004

  
I go down in the lift to reception.  There's a guy in the lift, looks a bit like on of the guys from changing rooms (or one of the other makeover programs from PMT TV).  I talk about tickets for England.  I said there were loads at the Croatia game (Stefan got in for 80 euros), but I think it will be harder for the quarter final v Portugal - he says 400 Euros is the price.  He gets into a waiting taxi. Something not quite right here.  He is not wearing a footy shirt or shorts of any description.  He is wearing sandals. 

I look at the notice board, England v Portugal serious offers only.  At the beginning of the week there were a lot of tickets going, many at face value, some below, some England ones for 150 euros.  Later on, I meet a guy from Anfield (sorry), his son went to de la Salle with Rooney.  They played together until the third year.  There are a group of about four Blues and reds who are here for a few weeks.  This guy is just here for four days.  He saw Russia v Greece and the Croatia game on Monday.  He leaves Thursday morning.  His mates picked him up from the airport, and then took him to the games...  All my mates are back in England.  They now go shopping on a Saturday afternoon. 

I go out for the day again, very nice.  The newspapers and telly are focussing on the big match.  There is also some bad news.  Tragically an English fan has been killed by a Ukrainian pick-pocket in Lisbon.  An English lad has been stabbed in Portimao, the next town up the coast. 

Sven is interviewed in Portuguese.  He managed Benfica for a few years.  Also on Portuguese telly, they interview people who have been queuing 48 hours for quarter final tickets.  Because of something to do with the media, extra seats are now available.  There are lots of very happy but tired fans.  Just next to them, sniffing around, is someone like the guy in the lift. I think our hotel has had a visit from a 'Salt of the Earth/Loveable Rogue/Cockney' ticket tout.  I have no problem with fans doing a bit of buying, selling or swapping, but when these guys get involved it is a pain.  Prices go sky high and they don't drop the price as kick off approaches. 

Holland beat Latvia, Ruud has now scored four.  Germans can't beat an under-strength Czech side.  Germans are out, out, out.

Paul Watson

  

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