Sunday, June 13
It is 3.30am as our minibus finally reaches the Joburg Golf Club and a 30 pound taxi for Robin and I to get back to Bjorn's flat in Randburg.
The joy of following England - it is a quick two hour kip in Randburg and then back out of bed at 6am so we can get down to Joburg City Park coach terminal for our transport to Durban.
We are on the 8.30am coach to the sunny coast. It is an eight-hour ride but the double-decker Greyhound is suitably comfy and the views spectacular.
Aussie Tim, who Bjorn and I met at Victoria Falls, Zambia is waiting for us at the fanpark in Durban. Where Rustenburg and Joburg were cold, grey and often uninspiring, Durban is sunny, warm, exciting and buzzing. Gary and Keith from Smith's Cottages have very kindly invited us to stay at their place in Durban for free for a couple of nights. They really like 'the shirt' project and want to help us by putting us up while we are in Durban. Keith even picks us up from the coach station, drops us at the casino close to the fanpark and then takes our rucksacks back to the cottages.
England hung round a shopping mall before their opening match; Australia are warming up for theirs in a casino. This is not your normal world cup.
The Durban fanpark is at the back of the casino and is stocked with enough beer for tens of thousands of German and Aussie beer monsters. Tim seems like he has personally drunk half of it already.
A good few Aussies don't have tickets but are able to pick spares up for face value or less. One Scottish lad who's with us gets a CAT 1 (face 1500 Rand) for 400.
The Durban Stadium is a beauty. With the beaches and sea on one side, rolling hills behind it and the Miami style apartment blocks its location would be spectacular enough in itself, but this is only added to by one of the aesthetic wonders of the football world. If footall has become the world religion, then the Durban Stadium is one of its global cathedrals.
One year ago I would have fancied the Aussies to push the Germans in this match but the northern Europeans are on the up.
Despite having most of the support in the stadium, Australia are outclassed from start to finish. Germany are simply brilliant. Ozel looks like he might be 'the find' of the tournament; Schweinsteiger could end up being the player of the tournament.
My seat is about 15 rows back from the pitch. My 560 rands gets me one of the most complete performances I have ever seen from an international side. An Englishman doesn't really want to admit this but it was a pleasure paying 50 pounds to watch Germany play this well.
Afterwards the Aussies are in surprisingly good spirits. They are agrieved about the Cahill sending off but all admit they have been totally outclassed. Predictably enough they drown their sorrows drinking vast quantities of Castle in the casino. It must be 3 or 4 by the time we get Tim home.