Estonia vs Portugal

Located in:

Lisbon, Portugal - October 2001

In October 2000 we went to the Emerald Isle to see Estonia play Ireland in a World Cup qualifying match in Dublin. The trip was such a success that we decided to do it again in 2001, except this time Estonia was away to Portugal.

While Ireland was lovely, its October weather could not match Portugal's warm sunshine. We spent a fun-filled week touring around the country and then arrived in Lisbon to see the match. As luck would have it, several other loose connections of friends and acquaintances were in Europe at the same time and we all met up in Lisbon the night before the game. The bulk of us were from Toronto but other representatives came from New York, Seattle and Vancouver. In all, there were something like 21 of us going to see the game. I was the one organising the tickets.

I had reserved tickets through the Estonian Football Association and there was a loose arrangement to meet one of their representatives in Lisbon. No problem. No problem except the guy we were supposed to call had a cel phone that could not receive calls from certain carriers in Portugal. We tried and tried and kickoff was getting ever closer and there was no way to get in touch with our contact. Over 20 people were expecting to see the game and I didn't have the tickets! What to do? One desperate option was to go to the stadium and hope to just run into the Estonian delegation. Well, the tens of thousands of fans milling about the stadium made that task as simple as finding the ole' needle in the haystack.

As luck would have it, we have a friend Kyllike who, at the time, was working at the Estonian embassy in London. We decided to give her a call thinking she might know someone that could help. Our call caught her off guard while in a supermarket checkout line but she quickly agreed to call a contact in Estonia that might know someone. Well, small countries do have their advantages and Kyllike promptly got back to us having found someone that could actually contact the Estonian Football representative. It turns out that he could call out to us so Kyllike passed on a New York cel phone number to her friend who passed it on down the line to the rep.

So beyond the frazzled nerves, seeing the game was as easy as following a cel phone route from New York -> London -> Tallinn -> London -> New York -> London -> Tallinn -> Lisbon -> New York. Piece of cake.

By the way, the seats were great but Estonia lost 5-0.

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