Yesterday was our last day in Gottingen a town in which we have been made very welcome, as have the Matildas. It also happened to be my birthday, and the local Police who have been escorting the Matildas gave me one of their berets as a gift. Thank you Christoph and Mandy, it was greatly appreciated. It was also extra special as the logo happens to be a white horse, which the symbol of the county of my birth, Wiltshire.
The day before we had driven to Wolfsburg and filmed scenic shots in the town that is home to VW. The castle is beautiful and very near the impressive VW stadium, home of Wolfsburg.
While here Camera 2 and I collected our media accreditation, but Chris had left his passport at the hotel so could not get his. Have had problems getting onto the media channel to apply for tickets, have tried three computers and no luck. Lee Barr is on the case and I am sure all will be sorted in due course.
The drive back from Wolfsburg was horrendous, as one of the worst storms to hit this area of Germany hit us on the road restricting visibility to about 10 metres! To make it worse there were road works as well, and so the road was narrower than normal.
We eventually made it back in one piece and headed into town for dinner at Zum Szultenburger, and to savour their wonderful schnitzels one last time. It was packed there and one very kind couple gave up their table for the three of us. We were even given a free schnapps each.
The 23rd and the Matildas were due to play England; Kind of a coincidence, the country of my berth taking on the country I now call home! I was very much supporting the Matildas.
In the morning we interviewed Elise Kellond-Knight and Heather Garriock, both of whom were great. We then hoped to catch a ride in the support van, but it had already left, so we followed the bus with the Police behind us. When we hit the roadworks, the Police escorted us and the bus down the hard shoulder, there were no delays this time!
The game again behind closed doors saw the Matildas victorious with Lisa de Vanna constantly threatening the fragile England defence, and Collette McCallum truly superb in midfield, and scoring both of Australia’s goals. How she is not one of the world’s best players is beyond me!
The defence should also take a bow, Kim Carroll Servet Uzunlar, Ellyse Perry and Elise Kellond Knight were outstanding and rock solid, meaning Melissa Barbieri only had one save to make. We should also mention the combination of Same Kerr and Caitlin Foord, who came on in the second half and combined really well on four or five occasions and were unlucky that they did not craft a third for the Matildas. If England is one of the favourites then, Australia is a very good outside bet as they completely outplayed them.
The journey home was again easier thanks to the escort and then I had a panic attack as I thought I had lost the tape of the days filming, but luckily had simply left it in the car!
After that it was time to sit down and have a few celebratory drinks.
Today we drove to Dusseldorf and moved into our apartment – Thanks to Janssen and Maluga – right in the heart of Dusseldorf. It is absolutely fantastic, although Chris was far from happy lugging his baggage up three stories, and I have to say I can sympathize, it was not easy, but worth it.
Not long now before the tournament starts for real and there is a buzz now about Germany as that day gets closer. The Matildas are looking good and Tom Sermanni has a few more options than he may have realized when he picked the squad, which has to be good.