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Vienna | 3.7.2008 | 11:39 
Letters from a shrinking globe: around the day in 80 worlds

Zita, Rotifer, Steve

 
 
Das Andere Match
  I know I shouldn't admit this before such a sophisticated and readily critical readership, but there has been a noticeable void in my life since I woke up on Monday and realised IT really was all over.

I know it's the second week of Wimbledon, amazingly STILL with British involvement, and I'm aware that the Tour de France is just around the corner. But they're just not the same thing. They're not an all singing, all dancing football fests in my own back-yard.
 
 
 
Bild: Karl Klauda
 
 
Hair Of The Dog
  I thought a dose of Vitamin D might raise my spirits, so I headed down to the Donaukanal to bask in Tuesday's evening sun. And there I had a rather wonderful hair of the dog experience: live football of the most outrageous quality.
 
 
 
Bild: Karl Klauda
 
 
The Arena
  Austria was taking on Switzerland in beach soccer at the Strandbar Herrmann, which, in a graceful nod to our Helvetian neighbours, has been known as the Swiss Beach for the past month and served as a base for a great deal of the Swiss contingent in Vienna.

It's been a fine place to watch football
(although not quite as fine as the FM4 EM-Quartier - Anm d Red), a fine place to get in touch with Swiss culture (although not quite as fine as Zita's Schweiz im Bild - Anm d Red), and a fine place to try out various Swiss cheeses.
 
 
 
Das Match
  Oh the football?

The Austrians, who were slightly weighed down by their fake Schneckerl perms and moustaches, struggled early on to contain a Swiss side overflowing with panache and end of term exuberance. As against Croatia, I'm afraid to report, the local boys went down early on. The Swiss played a long-ball game that they had clearly learned from F.C. Millwall and showed a deadly fnishing touch that Martin Harnick could only dream of.

But in the second half, Austria, who had clearly being adhering to a fitness regime that Roger Spry would smile upon, made their physical presence felt. The melodious chant "Immer wieder Österreich" swept through the eager crowd. Then after a screaming free-kick goal from a man known as "Bobby" - almost Ballackesque in its power - the Austrians crept back into the game.

Alas it was all too little, too late! In the end, it was 4-3 - or perhaps even 5-3 - to the team from the West.
 
 
 
Bild: Karl Klauda
 
 
Ute Bock
  But the winner of the day was Ute Bock, who does a great job helping asylum seekers in Austria. The red Swiss Beach deck-chairs were auctioned off after the match and 3,200 euros were raised for her projects.

That's a fine parting gift from our cousins from across the Bodensee, I think.
 
 
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