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am was out of my mind, and the only Tickets I had were in my hand. We were back in the real world, and wondering about important issues, like how some cities retain their local name when considered in English, and some cities don’t. Bruxelles, for example, runs the risk of being cleaved down the middle and pronounced ‘Brucks’ (rhymes with sucks) ‘elles’ (rhymes with shells), instead of the enticing ‘Brooshelle’. The French do seem to know how to go easy on an ex. It’s safer we call it Brussels. With München however, it’s a shame the two dots over the u have scared us off. München is a magnificent word, clearly superior to Munich, and one that opens itself at every meal to the observation, ‘Let’s get munchin’ in München.’ What I was munching when I met my brother Ned at the Augustiner beer hall was a pork knuckle (Schweinshax’n), which to the novice swine swiller comes in a sea of dark juice with sauerkraut and a jacket of crackling. It was huge, a dish to set the waitress’ biceps bulging as she plonked it on the long wooden table. In fact, the plonk propelled a splash of jus de pig onto my trousers, but given she was easily managing four steins in the one paw, I decided not to raise the subject of the dry cleaning bill. Ned now lives in Boston, but was over to meet friends and see the remaining qualifying games. By the afternoon of the Brazil game, he’d consumed a couple of beers, maybe two litres, to settle the nerves.

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The other Group F game was about to start on the big screen at the Augustiner. Ned was in perfect shape to launch some contingency analysis, to do the maths on the question of who we should support, given the Japan-Croatia result was fundamental to Australia’s future. Quickly, he discovered that with only one game played, there were a lot of variables. ‘If Japan win they’re on three, which is okay — it means they have to beat or draw with Brazil to get to four, but if Croatia wins, they are on three as well, so they would then have to beat us to get in, unless they win by miles, in fact unless they win 3-0 I think, and then it’s even … as far as I can work out — but a draw means they both get one point each, which means that Croatia will have to win against us, and possibly even that won’t be enough, although it will be if we don’t get a draw today, but if we do get a point against Brazil then we can lose and still get the spot even if we lose against Croatia, so long as they only get one point and don’t score too many goals today.’ He tackled the froth on his stein, the only punctuation mark in a monumental sentence. I stared at Ned, proud that my younger brother had been putting his morning to such good use. ‘It’s a good sentence,’ I said. *** If the pre-match against Japan back in Kaiserslautern had the atmosphere of a buoyant country fair, Munich was imbued with some big city intensity. The kilometre-long, paved pedestrian strip that stretched down Neuhauser Straße from the Hauptbahnhoff to the famous Marienplatz was bubbling with the competing yellows of the Brazilian and Australian fans. The papers reported that 60,000 Australians had descended on the city, many from London, thousands of others making detours from previously mapped out European tours. Taking into account a healthy Brazilian contingent, and an even more healthy ‘I’m Bavarian, but wouldn’t it be fun to be Brazilian’ crew, it’s possible that never before in history has there ever been more yellow on display. The sun beat down, again it was more than 30 degrees, and in the picturesque heart

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of Bavaria’s most famous city, smiling people sat in the beer halls, or camped under café umbrellas or shuffled along in the flock of fans. ‘You’re not going to believe this, but this was actually a Brazilian shirt once,’ quipped Warwick, originally from Brisbane but now living in London. The ‘BRAZIL’ across the front of his shirt was crossed out by crude texta mark and ‘STRAYA’ added above. The ‘Ronaldo’ across the number 9 on the back had been scrawled over with ‘Duke’. It was actually quite a common tactic. The sporting goods and souvenir shops were out of Socceroos shirts. People were making do. ‘Hoooooorraaaaaay!’ Warwick was there with six mates from London, and suddenly they were out of their chairs with steins in the air. They’d spotted the fabled Brazilian fan in a sequined bikini, and after one false alarm earlier, this time she was female. Cameras were whipped out as people lined up for a photo with something approaching the national stereotype. She straightened and then re-bent a perfect knee for each individual snap, adjusting the green-and-yellow tinsel skirt. Eventually, the boys had their photos, and I attempted an interview. ‘Hi, my name’s Tony.’ ‘I’m Abegail.’ I explained about writing a book, and asked whether I could interview her. The blank stare suggested a case of ‘Non parlez Inglese’. Fortunately, a young, male Brazilian friend was ready to translate for her. I went into full interview mode: ‘Is there a great pressure on Brazilian women to be beautiful, to wear something small?’ The question was translated with plenty of enthusiasm, perhaps even a hint of national pride. After a good 30 seconds, long enough for three Olympic 100-metre finals, Abegail was able to answer. ‘Yes.’ Back to me. ‘Why do you think there is that pressure?’ I asked, not necessarily expecting references to feminist philosophers like Naomi Wolf or Catherine McKinnon, but prepared for expansive detail if it arrived. Again the question went off on its 30-second language relay.

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Finally, he said that she said: ‘Because it’s natural.’ I was a spent force. I had to get out of there, and so switched to sport. ‘Do you think Brazil will win today?’ The response came after four Olympic finals. How could such a simple sentence possibly be that long in Portuguese? I began to wonder if this guy was editorialising with my questions. ‘Yes. Yes I do.’ *** I thought Brazil would win too. I’m guessing every Aussie fan did. However the rule of football, the one mentioned earlier about never pronouncing defeat for one’s own side, was applying. ‘You know what?’ was how these optimistic conversations would start. ‘I reckon we might just sneak a result.’ Every second Socceroos fan was saying it, most using a tone that implied: ‘Hang on to your hat here, nobody else will dare say this!’ The fact is that none of us should have been saying it. When the opposition has the reigning FIFA World Footballer of the Year, the soon to be all-time leading goalscorer in World Cup finals, Ronaldo, and is the number one ranked side on the planet, you can rightfully expect to lose. But football is a funny game, you know. The last eight minutes in Kaiserslautern for example. Funny? They were hilarious. There were plenty of Brazilians around to share the opposite view. ‘You’ll lose 6-0,’ Roberto, who was already drunk, said to me. ‘We’ll fuck you.’ I could only hope the Mozz was listening. His friend Marco from Sao Paulo was a little more circumspect. ‘We’ll win 2-0. You? You are good at swimming, cricket and rugby. But football, you are not so good at that. Brazil is good at football.’ He was wearing yellow more successfully than me. Maybe it was the dark Brazilian skin. I thought back to the book Colour Me Beautiful that my Mum had owned in the ’80s. It was the bible for everyone who wanted skin tone categorised according to season (winter, spring, summer, fall) which surprisingly, if you look at the number of copies the book sold, was about 10 million people. Carlos, like many Brazilians, was either a spring or a fall whereas I’m a whiter

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shade of winter. Even the softer Australian gold wasn’t getting me over the line. ‘What else is Brazil good at?’ I asked. Marco looked concernedly at his friend Roberto, who looked liked he was seriously considering a jump into the Karlsplatz fountain. ‘Brazil is good at football, beach volleyball, and producing corrupt politicians. This cup? Everyone in Brazil expects us to win. I do believe that if we don’t win this championship, Brazil will be very depressed.’ Roberto decided against taking a dip, choosing instead to chat to a Scottish man in a kilt. Marco seemed relieved. ‘It will change the national mood?’ ‘Absolutely it will. We are going to have presidential elections, first round in October and then more in November. If Brazil wins, it will help the government.’ ‘And that’s good?’ I asked. ‘No, that’s terrible. The president is a very bad man.’ ‘So you’re supporting Australia,’ I laughed, extending a hand to Carlos. ‘Welcome aboard.’ ‘No, I’m supporting Brazil. Because although I want to get rid of the government, I still care about the football even more. It’s sad, yes. It’s very unfortunate.’ *** Blind superstition, and fear of changing a winning formula, meant I had again donned the sticky polyester fibres of Hideously Yellow Von. Others had approached dressing up with considerably more creative verve. Two of my favourite dressers were a pair of Brazilian brothers, one of whom had come wearing Ronaldo’s teeth, the other the chompers of the great Ronaldinho. ‘We just used cardboard,’ Gappy Ronaldo said, sounding like he was speaking through a mouthguard. ‘The teeth, they are part of the power.’ Bucky Ronaldinho just stood there, grinning a ridiculous cardboardy grin. He’d drawn the more substantial mouthful. It was amazing he could breathe. Rob from Melbourne was in the full kangaroo suit, enduring 32-

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degree temperatures with the even temper of a Wilderness Society koala. ‘I said I would come to Germany as a kangaroo, and although it’s bloody hot in this suit, I’m loving every minute.’ Andre had shown similar resolve with his desire to come bearing a working puppet of Ronaldo on his head. It was a triumph of home engineering. He’d cut out a cardboard Ronaldo figurine, attached it to a Brazilian cap using a wire skeleton, placed hinges on the arms, and then added a drawstring, so that with a simple tug, the Brazilian striker raised a cardboard Jules Rimet Trophy to the heavens. Balloons, flags, horns, blow-up marsupials, beers and sausages. There was colour and movement everywhere, and the only colour was yellow. The news cameras were thick on the ground, soaking it up. One reporter from Chile interviewed me, and no doubt marvelled at my blurtings on the need to apply constant pressure and to frustrate Ronaldinho by cutting off supply. But at the end of the interview, he provided me with some keen insight. ‘This square was all red a few days ago for the Tunisians. And on Sunday, it will change colour again. But today, it is all yellow. The changing colours. The fans that flood into town and then flood out, like the tide. That is what is glorious about the World Cup.’ I bet he wished he had just interviewed himself. It wasn’t just Chilean television that was out in force. In the space of half an hour, I saw people being interviewed by networks from the United Arab Emirates, Peru and India. I saw Karl from Nine’s Today show. I saw the German versions of Les Murray and Craig Foster, whipping up the crowd from the balcony of the Neues Rathaus, the terrifyingly black, gargoyle-festooned neo-Gothic town hall that dominated Marienplatz. It was also the chance to be a yellow-shirted dot in the background of a Mexican soap opera. La Fea Más Bella is the most popular show in Mexico, and literally translates to ‘the most beautiful ugly woman’. It’s set in the world of television and fashion, and I met two of the stars, Sergio Meyer and Augustino Ramas, as they hovered in the centre of the pedestrian mall, waiting for the filming to start. ‘We have a World Cup story for the next episode,’ Sergio said.

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‘The scene is that my character, Luigi Lombardi, is trying to get some tickets for a football game, but I don’t want my boss or anyone to know. Meanwhile, Augustino’s character is watching me trying to get the tickets. Later he will tell this to my boss’ wife. And this starts a problem.’ Sergio pushed out his considerable biceps. He was in a lime green singlet and white jeans, chewing gum in a way that makes ugly people seem uglier, but cool people seem cooler. A printed dragon breathed fire across the singlet. ‘I’m gay on the show, but not in real life,’ Sergio said. He nodded at Augustino. ‘Whereas he is gay in real life, but not on the show.’ They both laughed. I couldn’t tell whether this was a joke. Filming started, and after failing to make it through the crowd for a good background position in take one, I was certainly thereabouts for take two. The director told off two Aussie fans next to me for looking at the camera, but I received no feedback for a distant, thoughtful stare which was intended to be in the style of a mid-career Pacino. I hung around, waiting for take three, but for some reason, it was taking an age. Hot and hungry, I could wait no longer, and so bade not-gay-but-gay Sergio and gay-but-not-gay Augustino a good day. *** We were on the Munich S-Bahn when the result for Japan versus Croatia came through. ‘0-0 with 10 minutes to go,’ someone said from within the tropical crush of the metro carriage. ‘0-0, full time,’ another voice chimed in. ‘It’s over. A draw.’ The singing began. ‘Aus-stray-lee-ah.’ A train carriage makes a fine studio. Frank Farina later jokingly described the Japan-Croatia game as one of the most important in the Socceroos’ history. Certainly, it meant we could relax and enjoy the appointment with the world champions. Even if we lost today, a draw in the final group game against Croatia would be enough to see us through. I was relying on Ned’s analysis: we’d be through, ‘unless Japan beat Brazil by heaps’. If Japan beat Brazil by heaps, I was calling in Chuck Norris to spill some blood.

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Unfortunately, our group of six relaxed to such an extent that we caught the wrong train. Instead of concentrating on boarding the S6 in the direction of a large, shiny, rubber dinghy-shaped stadium in the outer suburbs, we’d fallen into lemming mode and were on the S2, packed with ticketless fans heading for the Fan Park at Munich’s Olympic Stadium. Someone had to take the heat for that mistake, and a lifetime of belting my younger brother made Ned the natural candidate. He stood up to my complaining with grim resolve, just as he had stood up during the infamous Christmas of 1982, when Santa brought boxing gloves. It was also one of the few moments when the locals let us down. Or more particularly, one local. ‘I knew you were going the wrong way,’ a smiling man in a German jester hat said, as we frantically swam through the sardine tin, making for the door. ‘I knew the stadium was not this way.’ ‘Well, why didn’t you tell us?’ Rita said, frustrated. The bad German shrugged. He clearly didn’t know why he hadn’t told us. ‘You’re mean,’ Rita said. ‘That’s really mean not to tell us. And it’s also really mean to tell us now that you knew.’ The man shrugged again. He clearly didn’t care that he was mean. *** The Munich underground has two of the best named stations on earth in Schatzbogen and Poing. I can inform you of this because of the time we spent staring edgily at the Metro map, trying to rectify our mistake. Fortunately, in Munich as in the rest of Germany’s major cities, the Metro runs fast and often, and we could rectify our mistake with little damage. We emerged at the stadium stop 45 minutes before kick-off. From a distance, the imperious new Allianz Arena loomed as a translucent white lozenge, slashed across the surface with a tyre-tread of regular geometric markings. At night, the surface can change colour in the fashion of an LCD screen – blue, red or white – but now, in the blazing heat of a June afternoon, it reflected the sun like a desert

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mirage. ‘Tickets. Anyone selling tickets?’ Today, it was definitely a seller’s market, and once again, I celebrated the decision to purchase the accommodation package. Yes, it had been more expensive, yes, the realities of tour numbers meant that our hotels were on the suburban fringe, never less than half an hour from the city by public transport, but the pay-off was always there in the form of a green-and-gold micro-chipped length of card. I had a ticket to the biggest game in Australian football history. Again. I asked the ticket hunters what the going rate was. ‘Nothing less than 600 euros. Some people are still asking for 1000,’ Kev from Bendigo said. ‘It’s ridiculous. For the Japan game, I got one for 150 euros.’ I glanced across at Tamsin. For the last few hours she had been craving yoghurt. A thousand euros would buy a lot of punnets. But there was no sign she was tempted to turn tout. Anyone who had experienced Kaiserslautern was hopelessly addicted to the prospect of more. I lost the others at the bottom of the footbridge, when I shuffled across to speak to Joseph. He was wearing lederhosen, braces, a traditional Bavarian hat and an Errol-Flynn moustache. A sign hung around his neck: ‘Free Kisses from a Real German guy.’ ‘Did you grow the moustache especially for this?’ I asked him, as streams of Brazilians and Australians passed him by. Joseph nodded, chasing eye contact with someone other than me. ‘And has it worked? Have you had any luck?’ ‘Mainly kisses only from men, so far,’ he said. ‘But I don’t give up. I’ve had a few kisses from girls.’ ‘Have you set a target number of kisses?’ ‘Fifteen,’ he said, enthusiastically. ‘I hope for about 15 kisses before kick-off.’ *** It was only when I saw Ronaldo and Ronaldinho and Roberto Carlos and Kaka and Dida and Cafu and Adriano walk onto the pitch,

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holding the hands of FIFA kids, kids who were surely mapping out impressive show ’n tell presentations for Monday morning, that it hit me with a rush. ‘We’re actually playing Brazil,’ I said to Tam. ‘Look, it’s actually them.’ Brazil was in the traditional yellow and blue. The Socceroos were in the dark navy away strip. During the national anthem, we sang our hearts out, as if that might help. From our position on the right corner flag, one level up, I saw Tim and George across the bay. Friends since Grade three. Tim had his head rocked back and his arm around his mate. He was head of music at NIDA, and he was giving the anthem his all. Going for the high notes like he was attempting a slide tackle. In fairness, he had made a difference before. In 1988, Tim and George attended a Bicentennial Cup match between Argentina and Australia. It was in the dim, dark era, and Frank Arok was the coach. As Tim explained to me later: ‘George and I were sitting in the crowd, bemoaning the fact that Australians never sang the national anthem, and when the anthem starts, I call out at the top of my voice, “SING YOU BASTARDS!” Anyway, the crowd picked up the anthem and sang it very strongly. Australia then played a brilliant match and went on to win 4-0.” I nodded, thinking that Tim might be giving the ‘SING YOU BASTARDS’ call too much credit. But then he went on: ‘Later Frank Arok released a book, entitled My Beloved Socceroos, and in that book he talks about that Argentina game, and says that during the national anthem he heard a voice shout out, “SING YOU BASTARDS!” He wrote that it was a turning point in the history of Australian football, because the players were inspired by the singing.’ No wonder Tim and his golden voice were going for it. This time, his fellow supporters needed no urging. The futuristic lattice roof of the Allianz Arena was in danger of being lifted off. ‘In joyful strains then let us sing ADVANCE AUSTRALIA FAIR!’ ‘I’m just going to enjoy it,’ I shouted to Tamsin and Ned, as the

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singing gave way to frantic urging. ‘I don’t care if we win. I’m just going to enjoy the fact that we’re playing Brazil. And we’re here to see it.’ *** It took about 30 seconds and one poor refereeing decision for generous sweeping statements about the glory of the occasion to be replaced by rabid one-eyed barracking. Just like those ads, which featured a cold-staring Marco Bresciano and said, ‘Not just happy to be here,’ suddenly I wasn’t happy either. ‘Unbelievable. Is Ronaldo just allowed to fall down? Aw, come on, Merk! How can Viduka give away a foul when he is in front and in possession of the ball?’ Markus Merk was the referee, which lent itself, without too many mental calisthenics, to ‘Merk the Berk’ and ‘Merk you jerk’. Like most rabid barracking, it didn’t particularly stand up to the cold fluorescent light of the video replay. Maybe Ronaldo didn’t dive on that slide tackle from Grella. Indeed, maybe those gouge marks in his leg were hurting. But we didn’t have a replay, and we didn’t have cold fluorescent light. We had hot, direct, 30-degree sunlight. We were boiling. And we were going nuts. ‘One-ton Ronaldo, he’s a one-ton Ron-al-do!’ we pointed in the direction of the greatest striker of the last decade, borrowing the tune from the Cuban folk song Guantanamera. In truth, it was probably a victimless crime. For the rapidly expanding Ronaldo to care, he would have had to known the ‘One-Ton Rodeo’ Holden ad, and be concentrating on song lyrics instead of his full-time occupation, which currently was jumping in the air and screaming for fouls. The Socceroos were admirable as ever. Brett Emerton, often maligned during his previous 50 caps as a gifted player who gives the ball up too easily, was on the game of his life. At one moment, early in the first half, he stripped Ronaldinho of the ball and took off like a tracer down the left wing. The Australian fans in our section laughed out loud. This was the impossible dream. We were actually a chance. Brazil was certainly the more potent force going forward, but Viduka

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and Culina had both had long, speculative shots. ‘Great start,’ Ned grinned. ‘Great start,’ I replied. The constant pressure and harassing, achieved through a flawless game plan and an incredible work rate, was frustrating the Brazilians. One-Ton Ronaldo had even taken a ‘fresh-airy’. We only needed the Welcome Stranger to pop itself out of the ground in the form of a speculative 20-metre thunderbolt and we could start talking miracles. The problem was always going to be that Brazil didn’t need a miracle to start its goal rush. Instead, it just took Ronaldo to step over once, twice, three times, at the top of the box, slide it across to Adriano, who caressed the ball into the right corner of the net, safely wide of a flailing Schwarzer. I was writing a text message to a friend, John Harms, as the goal went in. I’d already made it as far as ‘can’t believe we’re on level terms with braz’. Letter by letter, it was a long and painful message delete. We had our chances in the second half. On 55 minutes, Marco Bresciano charged into the box, seemingly with just the goalie to beat, but demonstrated with just one touch too many how difficult scoring goals really is, and how good Adriano had been six minutes earlier. Then, before we’d had time to breathe, Dida attempted to take what Aussie Rules supporters would describe as a ‘hanger’ on Mark Viduka, dropped the ball, and the fresh substitute Kewell only had to walk the ball into the net. At least that’s how it felt in the flickering exaltation of the moment. In actual fact, Dida made incredible ground after the initial mistake, and the chance was more rushed than it appeared. Nevertheless, Kewell should have buried it. I’m paid to avoid splitting infinitives (a lesser person might have written, ‘I’m paid to not split infinitives …’) and to think of different ways to say ‘the crowd roared’. Kewell is paid to put shots like that away. You can tell I’m disappointed in him because I’m calling him by his surname. The man who finally broke our hearts was called Fred, only one name required. It seemed strangely o-less for a Brazilian name (why not Fredo?), but given Melbourne Victory now also has a Fred, it’s entirely possible that Fred is the Smith of South America. Robinho made the initial shot, which hit the left post and ricocheted agonisingly

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behind Schwarzer. Fred, the new substitute, banged it home and celebrated with an illegal striptease. No yellow card from Merk. 2-0. The history books would record it as a comfortable and predictable win for the tournament favourites. The 25-9 foul count would be quickly forgotten. I silently cursed Merk the Berk. As Hiddink later said, it wasn’t just the 50-50 decisions that went against us, but some of the 60-40 ones too. Harry Kewell was less inclined to curse the referee silently or to use the word ‘Berk’. Instead he opted for the more prosaic ‘you are a fucking shit’ which guaranteed him a stressful 48 hours. By the way, if you want to actually see a Brazilian shirt with Markus Merk’s Brazilianised name on the back, there’s a website that does the job. Type ‘Brazilname’ into Google, enter ‘Markus Merk’ into the name generator, and there it is – a Brazilian number 10 shirt with ‘Markildo’ written on the back. Then you can construct your own Brazilian shirt. Mine’s ‘Tildo’. *** The Australian fans were good winners against the Japanese, and apart from the bitching about Merk the Berk, we were good losers against the Brazilians. An hour or two after the game, a sense of reality dawned. Brazil had been the better side, even if the Socceroos had been the braver side. There’s an argument to say that the Brazilian players with their billion-dollar limbs saunter through the early rounds of tournaments as a protected species, but another argument says that billion-dollar limbs ought to be protected, that officials can’t allow the game’s superstars to be hacked to pieces. In any event, we’d lost fair and square. We couldn’t let it ruin our night. The party again focused around the pedestrian strip in the centre of Munich. The Mariensäule (Statue of Mary) in the centre of the Marienplatz square was the totem around which the party unfolded. The Brazilians had their samba drums. We had our voices. Together, we were a 500-strong madrigal choir. As the night wore on, it became harder and harder to distinguish between our yellow shirts and their yellow shirts. Brazilians were singing ‘Aus-sie, Aus-sie, Aus-sie, Aus-

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sie’. Australians were making reasonable attempts to samba, and if anything, held the party together. *** Around midnight, the crowd from Munich’s famous Hofbrauhaus joined us in the square. My mate Cam staggered over, with Katie, a petite blonde English girl buried under one arm. ‘You know what I’ve just found out? She was born in 1986,’ Cam said, using weight transference to indicate that he meant Katie. ‘1986. Can you believe it?’ I looked at a grinning and drunk Katie. Behind her beery glow she had youthful skin. I could believe 1986. I wondered if I could believe Cam when he insisted things were just platonic between them. ‘Do you want to see the blood that was spilt after our nude run last night?’ Katie said. Of course I did. Cam and Katie walked me across the square to a patch of cobbled grey stone that was marked with a dark liquid stain. It could have been a relic stain from the War of the #. Cam showed me the bandage on his foot. ‘I was running too fast to see the glass. Even when the police stopped us, I didn’t see that I’d cut myself. The German copper who apprehended us said, “Would you do this in your own country?” and I said to him, “Can I get my photo album?” Very kindly, he just told us to get dressed and let us off. It was then I saw that I was bleeding from the foot.’ Eventually Cam asked another policeman for something to stop the bleeding – thinking perhaps Band-Aid or Steristrip – until that policeman produced an ambulance. Once called, paramedics in Germany have no option but to take a bleeding nude runner to hospital, so Cam hopped in the back and headed for emergency. ‘Unfortunately, I don’t have travel insurance,’ Cam said, still leaning on Katie, still staring at the stain. ‘So officially speaking, this isn’t my blood.’ ‘Whose blood is it?’ I asked ‘Finley Waters’,’ Cam said, making a drunken meal of the esses.

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‘This is the blood of Finley Waters, of Lane Cove, Sydney. The bill’s going to Finley, should, by some miracle, there happen to be one.’ ‘So do you want to know the moral of the story?’ Katie said. ‘Don’t carry ID when doing nude runs?’ I attempted. Finley Waters laughed. ‘No. Don’t hang around people who were born in 1986.’ Eventually, the night played itself out, just as the Socceroos had. From Marienplatz square, I stumbled to a nearby bar, following Cam and Katie and random other friends of theirs who might also have been born in or around 1986. A Brazilian ran over to me and screamed, ‘This is not rugby! This is not rugby!’ and tussled my hair. My hair is in short supply and indeed on the verge of being listed as a World Heritage Site, so I asked him to stop. I then told him that we’d beat Brazil in the next World Cup which, incidentally, we won’t. Then came the lost hours – all but forgotten except the startling experience of looking up to see a flurry on the television screen, which just happened to be a white ball dropping into the 18th hole at Winged Foot. It was Geoff Oglivy winning the US Open. I hoped the Brazilian hair-tussler was watching. Australia truly is a broad sporting church. Golf isn’t rugby either. ***

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