World Cup Final at the Free University of Berlin – by Brennan McDonald

If I’ve learnt one thing during my exchange here in Berlin it is this: Doesn’t matter how often you travel, as long as you keep traveling you’ll find new experiences.

Germany is basically a second home to me this being the fifth time I’ve been over here for an extended period. I’ve had many great experiences during my time in Deutschland (many of which involve large amounts of German food and beer), but nothing prepared me for being here during Germany’s win of the Football World Cup. I’d already been to several matches with my German roommates by the time the final came around. We had watched the matches in pubs or out on the street where local vendors had set up televisions. However for the final match I decided to go with a large group of friends, made up of many nationalities, to the Berlin Fan Park in front of the Brandenburg Gate.

The atmosphere was electric right from the start. Various football chants could be heard coming from gangs of Germans wearing the national colours, beer and bratwurst was being sold from stalls around the park and half a dozen giant screens were in place ready to broadcast the clash of Germany vs. Argentina. We had got there several hours before the match to ensure we got a good spot and we stood there huddled in the rain for 3 hours waiting for the game to begin. Luckily 15 minutes before the game started the sky cleared, umbrellas were packed away and excitement started to ripple through the crowd. Then the game began.

It was hard not to get swept up in cheers and woops with every near goal for Germany, and the moans and gasps at every potential score from the other side. The crowd, 100,000 strong, felt like it was gasping and clapping and cheering in unison. However, each and every one of us had to wait until 20 minutes into overtime before we saw what we had been hoping for. That small white spec on that big screen fly past the Argentinian keeper. Goal for Germany. It is hard to come up with a phrase to describe the explosion of jubilation that erupted all around me at that point. People were hugging and kissing each other, song broke out all over the place and a couple of hard looking German blokes behind us burst into tears. But the torrent of happiness at Germany’s win didn’t end with the match. It spilled out on to the streets of Berlin where an estimated 600,000 people celebrated the victory.

I feel immensely lucky to have been in Berlin this year. This really was the case of being at the right place at the right time and I think it is quite unlikely I’ll ever find myself again in a country on the day they win the Wold Cup. A once in a lifetime event. And that’s my point. You can’t predict what will be thrown at you during your travels. Some events are really down to luck but if you stick your neck out there you will definitely end up with memories that are truly unique. Therefore, best of luck to any future traveller, new or experienced.


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