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What can I say? This has been the best world cup for years: Plenty of action & upsets. I managed to get tickets at the 11th hour for both Marseille Quarter Finals.

Rushed to fit new tyre and chain kit. The skinned knuckles were worth it -

Once trip was arranged Mrs banned me listening to favourite radio station -

Day one was 300 miles to Kent to pick up the England tickets from the Ebay seller. Day two was Kent to Valence in southern France. 9 hours, 700 miles. Absolutely cream crackered we went to a bar for 3 pints of Jupiter beer and were surprised to feel hammered. We passed this effect off as due to a long day/no sleep/no water/no food but later found out it was 10%.

Day two was into Marseille; absolutely heaving with England, Aussie, South African and French fans. What an atmosphere, it's truly indescribable and lots of good natured fun. Still tired & hungover we soldiered on, enduring 4hours on the p1ss before the England Australia match. The stadium holds 60,000 people and was full to bursting.

This is what it was all about -

God bless the Queen. Whichever side you were on SHE'S YOUR QUEEN!

Once into the stadium in 24 degrees of sunshine the build up was electric. I honestly feel England won the warm up. You could see they were up for it with big team huddles, adrenalin pumping. The Aussies were milling around in twos and threes before the match - big mistake.

Am I really here? Pinch me!

Prior to the game I was doing my usual (good natured) p1ss taking to the Aussie fans: 'Yes mate, you've shown dedication by coming so far (they weren't all London bar staff) just remember when you lose that it's only a game.' At this stage I honestly thought we'd be beaten but wanted to be there for the occasion - the next world cup is in New Zealand and I expect an emerging nation 4 years later, such as Japan. So it was now or (perhaps) never for me.

In front of us were lots of initially neutral French fans who I suspect could not travel for their match with the Kiwis in Cardiff that evening. During a lull in the play I stood up and bellowed: 'ALLEZ LE ROSBIFS!' The French group laughed and started chanting 'ENGLAND, ENGLAND!' Although it was more likely they wanted to meet us in the semi final.

After the match we spilled out onto the bars around the ground. Before we went in the French were handing out leaflets advertising V.I.P. semi final tickets for FRANCE versus AUSTRALIA at 1,100 euros. We gathered them up and nominated ourselves Marseilles traffic wardens for the day, stopping coaches of Aussie fans to hand them out, which was received in good humour - and lets face it it's the only other country on the planet that we have sense of humour in common with. I felt for those we chatted with, one group had flown in from Sydney the day before on a three week tour including tickets for the quarters, semis and final with an alpine tour to boot at great expense.

Accomodation was a nightmare until we got 100 miles out. The next day we went to Avignon, booked a hotel and took the TGV train in for the FIJI game. Like so many others it was exciting and close. As we were behind the posts we saw the late FIJI disallowed try wasn't a goer but after they got 2 tries whilst a man down it could of gone either way.

Day 4 was a 700 mile blast to Bruges in Belgium to the bar of 1000 beers to add to my beer bottle top collection before returning to Blighty the next morning for a Rock concert at Wembley (wish every weekend was like this but I couldn't take it).

This weekend I'll be in my local and now believe any of the remaining 4 teams could do it. Hopefully the final will be England Argentina - UNFINISHED BUSINESS.
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