Difficult choice – Spain or Germany?

Who is that guy? Well, it’s none other Chris Ziemer, vuvuzela in hand, ready to join the World Cup festivities.

By CHRIS ZIEMER

(Editor’s note: Chris Ziemer, Sonoma Academy athletic director and head girls soccer coach, is blogging for The Press Democrat at the World Cup in South Africa).

July 4, 2010

DURBAN, South Africa –

Do I need to decide?

As you can see by the attached photo, I’ve been pulling for both teams and I’m still weighing in on the decision of who to support – Germany or Spain. I may just stay neutral, hope for an exciting game and be happy for whoever wins. I still have two days to decide.

Spain staying next door…

I was pulling for Germany to be staying at the hotel next door as my German is better than my Spanish, but no complaints here. Hopefully, they too will spend the day shopping and eat nearby, although that didn’t seem to work for the Slovakians and Cameroonians. Hopefully, my next photo will be of me sandwiched in between Pique and Puyol.

German fans arrived in good spirits…

Our hotel welcomed a large group of Germans today. Proud, smiling Germans, as they should be with their team in form. I asked them if they were going to the game and in typical German fashion they answered “dat iz vy ve are here” as if every German in Durban has a ticket to the semifinal and they knew they were going to advance. It was great as four of them immediately hung the German flag from the balcony.

Traveling the globe in South Africa, one meal at a time…

I’ve been trying to eat foods from around the World, and there have been plenty of good options. Let’s just say I haven’t skipped many meals.

We’ve eaten plenty of South African food, but also food from many other World Cup countries – Spanish, Italian, Greek, Japanese, and Portugese – as well as Indian.

Bunny chow, which is the traditional Indian food in Durban was quite stellar.

My semifinalists would include Spain (paella) and South African (local fish platters), and my wife Renee would pick South African/Italian (curry chile chicken pasta) and Portuguese (chicken peri-peri).

We will keep you posted on who wins the Cup.

My early World Cup memories…

I was born in 1971, and my first memory of a World Cup was 1978.

1978- I can’t remember watching although I think my dad took us to the Cow Palace to watch games. I do remember him having a few hundred World Cup programs, which we studied at every chance. My brothers (Andrew, Benjamin, and Marcus) and my two best friends growing up, Jason Matthies and Tony Martin, used to go in our yard and take penalty kicks. Jason was a goalie and would be Sepp Maier or Dino Zoff, the rest of us would choose between the likes of Rivelino, Zico, Neeskens or Cubillas. Those were the days…

1982 – My brothers, Jason and I traveled to Germany to visit family and followed the World Cup which was being hosted in Spain. I can remember watching the Germany vs. France game in which German keeper Shumacher knocked Battiston unconscious. I can also remember being mesmerized by the Italy vs. Brazil game which if memory serves me correctly, we watched in a Greek restaurant. I also remember watching the 1982 highlight video G.ole, which was narrated by Sean Connery, enough times that my brothers and I could recite every line. “Such a burden on so small a body,” was his line for Italy’s Gentile kicking a young Maradona around. It could have also described the hurt the Germans put on his team yesterday.