|Dramatic night surrounded these guys|
|Riga flight booked|
Walk to the bus station
|Where the draw bridge joins together|
Bus to Palanga with Wifi
|Klaipeda Bus Departures|
|Klaipeda Buss network|
|On the bus to Palanga|
|Free and good Wifi|
|Arrived at Palnaga - 25 minutes later|
|Palanga bus station|
|Palanga sky line is dominated by this church|
|Oh I do like to be beside the seaside!|
Nice Lithuanian dinner
|Just what the doctor ordered (not quite)|
Room still not ready at 3:30 pm
Uruguay 3 Russia 0
Here's a better clip. Makes "God Save the Queen" sound really crappy, I reckon.
I had predicted the first 0-0 for this match as Uruguay are usually a dour, negative side, but of course that didn’t happen. Early in the game Luis Suarez lined up to take a free and the Russian wall appeared to be complicit in letting him score. Either that or the goalkeeper was completely in the wrong position.
|Leonas Kukstas (1896-1945)|
Accountant at Gubernija
|Sportsbar that promised to show both games later|
|On the Kvass|
|Brewed at Gubernija|
Texting around the world
Group B deciders
After writing the previous paragraphs, I headed back to the "main drag" of Palanga to take up my seat at the bar that had promised me simultaneous screen for the two Group B deciders, Portugal v Iran and Spain v Morocco. I was a bit early, and as the grey clouds had cleared, I strolled down to the beach again where lots of people were sat on beaches facing the sea, waiting for the sunset, presumably.
|Brightened Up Now|
|Bit of Sunshine at Last|
Anyway with 15 minutes 'till kick off I went back to the sports bar I'd been earlier, thinking that although going to the same bar twice kind of feels unadventurous to me, at least I'd get to see the two games at once. It could be important to do that as the group was tightly poised.
I actually bought a ticket for Spain v Morocco because I had intended originally to go back to Kaliningrad a second time but revised the plan afterwards when I realised that it would just eat too much time into my plan. I had intended to sell the ticket once I got here but going through security for the Serbia v Switzerland game made me realise that wasn't an option. Anyway, stupidity tax.
The bar had good Wifi so I could track the score of other game in real time, if not watching it on the screen. I was also "live" with friends in England and Odessa so I wouldn't be missing anything for more than a few seconds. Again, the good side of social media should not be overlooked.
What a dramatic night followed. It would take pages to describe but let's just say for most of it Portugal were sitting pretty at the top of the group after taking the lead with a fantastic goal, whereas Spain struggled against Morocco, going behind twice. As the games went into injury time, the possibility occurred to me that should Iran equalise and Morocco scored another, then Spain could end up getting eliminated.
Iran did indeed equalise, after a VAR decision handed then a controversial penalty but as that drama was unfolding in front of my eyes, similar drama was going on in Kaliningrad as Spain had a disallowed goal overturned allowing them to equalise and make their place safe, now at the top of the group.
As the seconds ticked away, with the Spain - Morocco game finished at 2-2, the only possible permutation change now was if Iran scored a last gasp winner, then Portugal and "Him" (Cristiano Ronaldo to those that don't follow the Guardian's football columns) would be out.
But this Portugal team are nothing if not gritty and they clung on to qualify.
So the first two round of 16 ties are decided:
Spain will play Russia, and
Portugal will face Uruguay.
|Still light at 11 pm|