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Football (soccer) in Europe is the coolest thing ever!  This Tuesday I went to the game with my host dad and a group of guys he’s been going to games with for years.  Some of them are friends he grew up with while others are newer to the group, but they’re all a lot of fun and welcomed me right into the group.  I don’t remember all the names but some of them were: Thomas, Mårten, Mikael, Kole, Casper, Olsen, Morden, Jonas.  I believe there were 11 of us in all, so 9 friends.  We met up for some burgers, chilled at a bar and played pool, then headed off to the game.

Parken Stadium holds 40,000 people, officially, and there were over 37,000 present.  The game was an important one, as a win would secure Denmark a spot in the European Championships.  A tie or loss could potentially still result in a playoff opportunity, but it would depend on a number of other teams’ unlikely losses.  We got in and to our seats quite quickly and I had an opportunity to learn a little bit about the Danish soccer team and the league before the game started.  One of the coolest experiences of the night was the national anthem.  Forget high school bands or washed up pop stars, this national anthem was real and powerful.

These games are really intense because Europeans LOVE football.  For some of the guys here I swear it is their life.  Imagine all the sports junkies you know at home.  Now imagine you only let them root for one sport.  And they’re not just playing other teams…they’re playing other countries.  National Pride?  Hell yeah. It’s ridiculous!  Loved it.  This is the reaction after the second goal:

There was a lot of chanting and even some jumping and swaying…I really had no idea what I was saying or why we were doing things but I went along with it…

We took an early 1-0 lead and stretched it to 2-0 about 60 minutes in, but Rinaldo scored at about 82 and slowed our preemptive celebrations somewhat.  Denmark pulled through in the end though, and what a celebration it was!

And of course, since we won, we had to celebrate afterwards.  Most of the guys went to a little club/bar/cafe down at the end of the stadium.  We all hung out for a while, but most of the guys had to work Wednesday so they headed out fairly early.  

Thomas and I though…we had absolutely nothing to do Wednesday so we stayed out a lot later and hung out, danced a bit, and saw some guys wrestling on the dance floor.  Who knows, we WON!
Oh, and I slept on Thomas’ couch.