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Vienna | 29.6.2008 | 19:35 
Letters from a shrinking globe: around the day in 80 worlds

Zita, Rotifer, Steve

The Final Page Dilemma
  I'm suffering a bout of the old good book syndrome this afternoon. I can't wait to find out what is written on the last page of the Euros, but as soon as referee Roberto Rosetti blows the final whistle tonight (as long as, God help us, we are spared penalties!) all this wonderful madness will be over.

I will no longer be able to take photos of Spanish men in red and white Lederhosen and call it work!
  Sometimes my traditional lack of cash and inspiration can be a blessing in disguise.

There was a time late last autumn, after England failed to qualify, when I considered buying a long haul June flight to a country that doesn't care about football and thereby missing the big bash.

I didn't do it because:
a) I was severely broke
b) In my state of mourning, and since Golden Guus Hiddink Did Australia, I couldn't actually think of a country that doesn't care about football.

(Yes, yes, I have worked out since that Hiddink hasn't been to New Zealand yet.)
  These lads, among the 40,000 Germans estimated to have made the trip to Vienna for the match, certainly care!

They were in no doubt that Germany, with or without Michael 'poorly calf' Ballack, were going to pick up a record 4th European Championships.
Confident Bunnies!
  These bunnies begged to differ on that point. 44 years of hurt never stopped them dreaming. Spain hasn't had any silverware to show for its flamboyant football culture since the Euros of 1964 - an era when television was black and white, Josef Klaus was Austrian chancellor and my Dad was struggling through puberty. Wow!

But that glory-drought is going to end tonight, say these beautiful rabbits.
  Talking about 30 years - or 40 years, or 42, or whatever it is - of hurt, I bumped into Frank Skinner, the man who co-penned that iconically annoying song. I asked him for 2 minutes of time to discuss the final and he shunned me, would you believe it! Me Christian C. Cummins! He positively spurned me! In fact, to see his shocked face, you'd think I asked him to strip naked and dance around the May Pole - not for a quick football prediction about the European Football Championships final. You can say no - any journalist is used to that - but I think you should say no nicely. Oh well! He has lost a chance to appear on the award winning platform of the FM4 Morning Show!
  I'll put his unapproachable mood down to today's heat. We English aren't used to it, you know. Neither are the northern Germans; and among the 40,000, I would not like to predict how many failed to follow their pharmacists advice and didn't slop on the factor 30. There are some reddish faces in the FanZone tonight! Luckily the kind authorities turned on the hoses and gave us all a free shower in front of the Parliament.

As Frank spurned me, so I spurned the free showers. I was out and about when the monsoon hit Vienna on Wednesday and Thursday night - so I've seen enough water falling from the sky to last me a life-time.
  Right! That's it! I'm off to watch the match. This may be the most frantically over-rushed article I'll ever write. Forgive me! It's been a wonderful tournament. May the best team win tonight and all that. And, as this very charming man reminded me, we'll all meet again in South Africa in 2010.

Personally, I can't wait!
 Übersicht: Alle ORF-Angebote auf einen Blick