Wednesday was the first semi-final Germany v Norway.
As usual, the day started with training in the morning (fairly intense with 16x100 meter sprints, followed by 100m jog) and a technical session on the field. We focused on a variety of actual scenarios with players going to goal. The objectives was to determine if there was an Obvious Goal Scoring Opportunity. It was imperative that we considered the D's in making our decisions.
With no debriefing scheduled, we had the afternoon free. FIFA scheduled a shopping trip (the #1 attraction here in Shanghai and by far the most "experienced" by the referees). Not knowing exactly where we were headed I boarded the bus, just out of a need to stretch my legs and get out of the hotel. Needless to say unless I was looking for imitation hand bags, watches or t-shirts there was nothing for me at the market. However I did find a wonderful park just a few blocks away, actually called a Mausoleum for Martyrs. Some interesting Chinese history at this beautiful park.
But as usual the sign translations where a some of the most entertaining elements of the day. Select your favorite translation of the park rules on this sign.
The true focus of the day however, was of course the semi-final which we all watched together live in the referee lounge in the hotel, as the match was being played in TianJin about 1:30 hour flight away.
Thursday's schedule is much the same as Wed, but nothing in the afternoon officially planned so I took team Asia (referees from China, Taiwan and Japan) out to explore. I had my first taxi ride in China. A bit safer than I expected. We made it to our destination with no problem.
We visited the most famous shopping area in Shanghai (which is closed to cars) and of course stopped of a Chinese Starbucks (apparently there are over 65 in this city). I tried the new Green Tea Blackberry Frappuccino - Fabulous!
Now it is time to watch the USA v Brazil semi-final. This game is bound to be one of the most exciting games of the tournament. Go USA.
Friday night FIFA will announce appointments for Sunday's matches. Again, keep your fingers crossed for another appointment :)