WORLD CUP 101
Kicking Around Plans for 2006?
WHAT: The 2006 FIFA World Cup, to be held throughout Germany from June 9 to July 9. Thirty-two national soccer teams will play in 12 cities, starting in Munich and ending in Berlin. Other cities include Cologne, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Leipzig.
TICKETS: The United States, eliminated in 2002 with a loss to Germany, is likely to land a fifth consecutive World Cup appearance. The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) holds its draw Dec. 9, deciding who plays where and when .
The 3.2 million World Cup tickets are being released in a series of sales periods; tickets are randomly awarded by computer. With qualifying competitions not yet over, buying tickets is a calculated risk. Four of five sales periods remain for 2.4 million tickets: Dec. 1-Jan. 15, Feb. 1-April 15 and May 1-July 9. The second phase, which began May 2, is only for team-specific series tickets.
Single tickets are $45 to $130 until the final, when tickets are $155 to $776. Some people opt to buy team-specific series tickets. You can't buy both. You can also splurge on an official hospitality package, which starts at $2,395 per person and includes tickets to three matches in one stadium, parking and catering. Info: http:/
PACKAGES: RazorGator and Ticket City offer deals that include lodging and tickets. RazorGator's least expensive option, for $4,799 per person double, includes four nights at the Holiday Inn Munich City North, breakfast, tickets to the opening match in Munich and the subsequent match in Nuremberg, and stadium transfers. Ticket City offers a one-, two- or three-city hotel add-on; $1,395 buys three nights in a four-star hotel in one city, including breakfast and a city tour. SoccerTravel.com, an affiliate of the U.S. Soccer Federation (877-667-5338, http:/
GETTING THERE: Most of the 12 cities -- the exceptions being Gelsenkirchen and Kaiserslautern -- have air service. Nonstop flights from Dulles to Frankfurt or Munich are currently among the more expensive options, starting at $660 round trip. Cheaper flights with one stop are available from D.C. to the other German cities, starting at $583 to Berlin.
GETTING AROUND: With inter-city airfares costing just as much as international service, rail is the way to go. All 12 venues, from the smallest city (Kaiserslautern ) to the largest (Berlin), can be accessed by the German rail system, Deutsche Bahn ( http:/
The official World Cup Web site offers travel information at http:/
WHERE TO STAY: FIFA World Cup Accommodation Services http:/
The choices, particularly in the luxury category, run heavily to hotel chains: Dorint, InterCityHotel, Holiday Inn and Ramada -- but you can find more picturesque hotels among them.
Or venture off FIFA's list and explore a vast variety of lodgings.
In Berlin, the 33-room Hotel Augusta (Fasanenstr. 22, 011-49-30-883-5028, http:/
INFO: Soccerphile.com ( http:/
Also offering info: FIFA World Cup ( http:/
-- Margaret Roth