Where the national teams -- and fans -- will be
Looking to party with the Brazilians? Their fans will be centered in Cologne. (Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images)
The atmosphere is sure to be vibrant and cosmopolitan throughout Germany during FIFA World Cup, as fans from around the globe will converge to cheer on their national sides. But in case you want to be among your countrymen -- or if you just want to party with the Brazilians (understandable) -- we've compiled some information below on where different national teams' fans will be centralised, plus a rundown of where each of the 32 teams themselves will set up camp.
BRAZIL - Cologne
Cologne is famous for its carnival. As is Brazil. Looks (and sounds!) like a natural fit. The party link certainly helped the vibrant Dome city to lure their carnival counterparts into town. "Rio will be at the Rhine," says Josef Sommer, CEO of Cologne Tourism. "Cologne is just a way of life which fits well with the Brazilians." It won't be before the knockout stages that the five-time World Cup winners move their base to neighboring Bergisch-Gladbach, and even though they will be playing in Berlin, Munich and Dortmund, Cologne is the place to gather. Over 6,000 Brazilians have already booked hotel rooms for an extended stay, and thousands more are to follow. "We will be the meeting point for Brazilian fans from all over the world, which will also attract lots of German fans," added Sommer. So it will be samba all over the city, with huge TV screens set in front of the Dome and also at several other locations. The organisers will also have a giant La Ola wave swapping through the downtown area.
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Some 10,000 fans are also expected to visit Koenigstein, near Frankfurt, where the Brazilian team will reside during the group stages. The 16,000 inhabitants have already flooded their city counsel with hundreds of suggestions as how to greet the Selecao. A local school will even hold their graduates' end-of-the-year exams one week early for them to fully enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience. While all public training sessions will be held in the Bundesliga stadium of FSV Mainz 05, "Koenigstein will certainly make itself a name in Brazil," a local organiser predicted.
ENGLAND - Everywhere
England supporters are widely recognized as the most passionate fans in the world. No less than 100,000 will flock to Germany during the course of the tournament. While Eriksson's troops reside in the beautiful city of Baden-Baden near the Black Forest, thousands of fans are expected to gather at the respective match venues on the days before and after the games. "The fans know the team is in Baden-Baden to focus on football so we guess they will travel through the country to the three venues," Andy Battson, the British Embassy's World Cup Attaché, told ESPN. "It is very difficult to give stats. We expect 30,000 or 40,000 fans to be in the cities for the matches. And all bets are off if we reach the final. Lots of fans will come over just to say, 'I was in Berlin for the final'."
Battson vowed England fans could not be put down as stereotypes. "Some will stay in campers, some will see other matches, some might stay in bordering countries like Holland and some might sleep in a five-star hotel," he added. "After all, the World Cup is not just about the 90 minutes."
There will be a variety of fan events ahead of each England match. The English FA is backing their supporters, who have developed strong ties with their German counterparts, in their efforts to stage numerous events in the respective venue cities. Prior to England's Group B clash with Trinidad and Tobago, there will be a cricket match between the fans as well as a Caribbean-style Carnival event. It is part of the Alltogethernow 2006 campaign, which was launched to enhance the image of English fans being passionate supporters rather than anti-social hooligans. At "Colossal in Cologne", English and German fans will organise a five-a-side soccer tournament involving 32 teams and have a charity auction.
The German organisers do not expect the English fans to pose a special security threat after successfully cooperating with the FA and British authorities during the build-up of the tournament. Ever since travel bans were imposed on violent fans after Euro 2000, hooliganism has not been a problem. Some fear there might be riots at public viewing places, but "in every bigger city, you will always have one or two people who have one or two drinks too many," claims Organising Committee vice-president Wolfgang Niersbach. "We will be all set and hope everything goes off in good spirits," he added.
UNITED STATES - Hamburg/Kaiserslautern
Bruce Arena has picked Hamburg, the northernmost host city, as his base. However, with Team USA playing matches in Gelsenkirchen, Kaiserslautern and Nuremberg, the self-proclaimed party and entertainment capital is unlikely to be a permanent base for American fans. Around 5,000 are expected to spend at least one or two days in the city. It's definitely worth it: Great public viewing location (50,000 fans), the best entertainment and nightlife, a beautiful city center plus the harbor. Children can watch games in the evangelical St. Pauli Church -- drinking and smoking prohibited, of course. Shame on you if you were to visit the nearby red light district, the famous Reeperbahn, while sending your children to church.
There will also be a big American presence in Kaiserslautern because, well, there is a big American presence in Kaiserslautern, in the form of 40,000 military personnel at the Ramstein air force base which is close to "K-Town".
AUSTRALIA - Zweiflingen
With Australia playing in Kaiserslautern, Munich and Stuttgart, tiny Zweiflingen serves as an ideally located training camp base in South Germany. Some 1,500 fans have booked their travels through Australia's football federation. They will stay in the respective game venues but not without paying the 1,700-inhabitant village a brief visit. "We have no idea how many fans will be coming," mayor Klaus Gross told ESPN. "We have created room for campers through private persons. Our homepage (www.zweiflingen.de) gives an overview of the most important information. We will also try to stage a fan football tournament," he added. Zweiflingen is some 75 kilometres away from Stuttgart and about 130 km from Frankfurt.
ARGENTINA - Frankfurt
Its central location in the heart of Germany makes Frankfurt an intercultural melting pot. Not only England and Holland fans are expected to swamp the city, but the organisers also expect a lot of South Korean and Argentinean visitors. Over 4,000 Gauchos have already booked their accomodation in "Main-hattan", while a strong South Korean community will stage special festivities for their fellow countrymen. On June 21, Frankfurt will host what many consider the most exciting encounter of the group stages: Holland vs. Argentina. However, should Germany prove its doubters wrong and win the tournament, Frankfurt will be covered in black-red-gold as the national team usually celebrates its titles on the famed Roemerberg (the place in front of the city hall).
MEXICO - Dusseldorf
The World Cup has added to the never-stopping rivalry between Dusseldorf and Cologne. While the latter was named an official host city and also lured the Brazilian fans into their town, Dusseldorf hit back in style. Over 5,000 Mexican fans will be permanently based in the beautiful Rhine city. There will be numerous entertainment, cultural and public viewing events, like a special "Mexican Party" on June 18. City guides have received crash courses in Spanish as Dusseldorf, already known for great nightlife activities, looks forward to some Mexican flair.
WHERE THE TEAMS WILL BE BASED
Angola - Ringhotel Celler Tor, Celle
Argentina - Hotel Herzogs Park, Herzogenaurach
Australia - Wald Schlosshotel Friedrichsruhe, Öhringen
Brazil (Group stage) - Kempinski Hotel, Falkenstein
Brazil (Knockout stage) - Schlosshotel Lerbach, Bergisch Gladbach
Costa Rica - Holiday Inn Walldorf, Heidelberg
Croatia - Dorint Resort & Spa, Bad Brückenau
Czech Republic - Lindner Hotel & Sporting Club Wiesensee, Westerburg
Ecuador - Bristol Hotel, Bad Kissingen
England - Schlosshotel Bühlerhöhe, Baden-Baden
France - Schlosshotel Münchhausen, Aerzen
Germany - Schlosshotel Grunewald, Berlin
Ghana - Maritim Hotel, Würzburg
Iran - Hotel Krone, Friedrichshafen
Italy - Landhaus Milser, Duisburg
Ivory Coast - Hotel Clostermanns Hof, Niederkassel
Japan - Hilton Bonn, Bonn
Mexico - Hotel Freizeit In, Göttingen
Netherlands - Parkhotel Adler, Hinterzarten
Paraguay - Sport Academy Oberhaching, Baden-Baden
Poland - Sport Academy Barsinghausen, Hanover
Portugal - Sport Academy Klosterpforte, Marienfeld
Saudi Arabia - Hotel Dolce, Bad Nauheim
Serbia & Montenegro - Hotel Weissenburg, Billerbeck
South Korea - Grandhotel Schloss Bensberg, Cologne
Spain - Sport Academy Kaiserau, Kamen
Sweden - Park Hotel, Bremen
Switzerland - Kurhotel Fürstenhof, Bad Bertrich
Togo - Hotel Waltersbühl, Wangen
Trinidad & Tobago - Hotel Landhaus Wachtelhof, Rotenburg
Tunisia - Hotel Mercure, Schweinfurt
Ukraine - Seminaris SeeHotel, Potsdam
United States - Park Hyatt Hamburg, Hamburg
As a native of Germany, Johannes Berendt can't wait for the World Cup to start. He covers international sports for the British Press Association and ESPN SportsTicker.