Saturday 11th October 2014 ko 19.00
TITUS LAMADELAINE 0
CS PÉTANGE 1 (Smigalović 45)
So over the border into the Grand Duchy and one of Europe’s smaller countries. Luxembourg lies between France, Belgium and Germany, and the Stade Jos Phillipart in Rodange lies roughly a kilometre from France to the south and two from Belgium to the North. So I got my eighteenth countrypoint, but not by much!
Lamadelaine are using the stadium, the home of FC Rodange 91, for a season while work is completed at their home, Terrain Rue du Vieux Moulin to bring it up to Luxmbourgus second tier standards and the drainage improved. Its not a long journey (is anywhere in Luxembourg?!) for the team, around 2km but for this game Pétagne’s journey was almost as short, only a kilometre more!
The groundshare reflects the club’s rapid rise through the divisions, 3 promotions in 4 years, but my most vexed question was which language would I mangle whilst I was there. I speak a few words of French and German, just enough to order a burger, beer and wangle the team line-ups but Luxembourg lies on the confluence of German and Romance languages. As such you can expect to hear German, French and the Luxembourgish. The latter sounds Germanic with “loaned” French words, but the one language I didn’t expect to hear was Portuguese!
That turned out to be because the Duchy has seen mass immigration from Portugal and its former colonies, but it threw me for a while, and in the end I was pleased to have our German friend Andreas around to pick the languages on display! It was good to see Andreas again, that’s his sunglasses in the article on Lilleström, and having a polyglot around was a godsend. I think I’ve seen a game now in 7 countries with Andreas which is some going!
I grabbed teamsheets for Peter and I and rapidly discovered to the dismay of the press box that only 3 sets had been produced, and yes my linguistic skills were up to local swear words, oddly enough they usually are!
I considered my surroundings as the teams jogged out on to the pitch, the ground is licensed to hold 3,400 with all kinds of opportunities for others to watch from outside! Behind one goal is the leisure centre that holds the hospitality and changing rooms, and to the side of that a fun fair obscured another football ground. Behind the other goal is the local prison, and I must admit we did joke that sentences would be halved if the inmate agreed to watch the football!
It has to be said that it wasn’t the easiest game to watch. The play lurched from moments of skill to comedic incompetence; tackles flew in, 8 were booked and one player should have seen red for two x-rated tackles. Chances were spurned, and the game was settled by a goalkeeping howler that allowed Almir Smigalović a simple header to score the only goal of the game.
We said goodbye to Andreas and drove to Luxembourg City for our overnight stay. The hotel was excellent, and I did enjoy the Chinese meal just round the corner. The only thing was a little disconcerting was the, er, working women on every street corner. But then as the evening had proved, if any of them had approached me I’d had had no idea which language to use to decline them!