First things first: what a relief it was not to have to go through the stress of having follow England through yet more pain and agony in a major tournament. Some people here mentioned to me that it was a shame that England weren't there, but I don't think so. They wouldn't have survived the group stages anyway.
Owing to my work commitments in Zurich and being glued to the television watching football during the rest of the time, there was little chance to do more important chores. Now I'm playing 'catch-up' somewhat. Yet I wouldn't have had it any other way!
What with the cooler, inclement weather during the first week or so, the tournament started slowly. However, the Switzerland-Turkey match 'lit the blue touch paper', as it were, and we haven't looked back since. As I was about to settle down at home to watch that match, I could see the big black cloud coming from the north and knew what was about the happen. It poured down in Weil first, and then torrential rain reached Basel. After Hakan Yakin's comedy goal, some might have thought that the match might be called off. However, the sky started clearing above Weil at about that point in the game, so I knew there was nothing to worry about...
The unexpected trip to Geneva to watch Turkey-Czech Republic will stay long in the memory, as will last Saturday's party in Basel with the Dutch.
In general, I belive that tomorrow's two finalists are the best two teams in the tournament. True, the Germans almost had a nightmare against Turkey, but you should never discount them - as the Portuguese discovered. My tip to win the tournament was Germany in the first place. Before the Spain-Russia match, I thought that Russia would be potentially the trickier opponent for Herr Luuurve and his boys, but now Spain look very, very good. Be that as it may, I'm going to stick with my original prediction.
Whatever happens, it will be quite loud outside my flat from around 10.30 p.m. tomorrow. I knew what was going to happen after the Germany-Turkey match, so I took the conscious decision to watch the match in Zurich with some friends and stay overnight there. Given that Germany won, the gamble paid off.
The Hauptstraße in Weil not far from my flat shortly after the Germany-Turkey match. [Photo scanned from the Badische Zeitung of Friday 27 June.]