Friday, 13 June 2008

Austrian draw shows Polish

Welcome readers and after our dreadful evening on Wednesday I'm delighted to say we had another fantastic night of hospitality yesterday courtesy of the Poles.

We knew we had to get to the famous White Eagle Club early in order to guarantee entry so we went down to Balham for the first game which we watched in the functional Balham Tup.

Germany were poor and Croatia were clearly not the dreary team we saw last Sunday. Although much improved I still do not consider Croatia to be championship contenders - though well organised I think they'll lack the flair to break down some teams.

On to the main event...

The White Eagle club was very easy to find about 100 yards down from Balham station. We entered to find a large hall with huge screen, lots of rows of seats and numerous stalls selling food, drinks and football regalia.

A big-up first of all to the bigos:

this is a sausage and cabbage stew which I had served with another grilled Polish sausage (kielbasa), rye bread and mustard. There was a good selection of other stews but I have to say this was the tastiest food I've enjoyed on our travels. I washed it down with a "Lech" beer and then changed to the strong Tyskie beer which was very good indeed.

Support in the cavernous hall was excellent - the best we've seen so far. They were not muted even by the early Austrian dominance. When the surprise Polish goal came they all went ballistic, truly a sight of joy to behold.

I think it's around this stage that the drumming started somewhere from the front which ensured the chanting was incessant.

The second half started in style, Poland had clearly been told to go for the jugular and get a second goal and they came close on a number of occasions. It wasn't to be however and Austria started to push them back a little more.

Still, in the closing minutes it looked as though Poland had pulled it off. They were denied however by a controversial penalty from the English referee Howard Webb. I certainly didn't see much wrong. The atmosphere certainly turned a little negative so we hot-footed it away pretty quickly.

1-1 was probably the correct result in reflection of the early Austrian dominance but I can't help feeling sorry for the Polish in the way they conceded, especially given their voracious support.

It's the return of the group of death today and we're off to Bar Italia and Manouche, hope to see you there (though get to Bar Italia early).

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