Berlin today stages its biggest sporting event since a rather controversial little Olympics in 1936.
When Germany and Argentina take the field this evening, the 2006 World Cup will have gone a whole 66 hours with a ball kicked in anger.
Or in England´s case, languor.
And Berlin can be entitled to feel more impatient than most.
A vast Coca-Cola poster, replicated across the Berlin skyline, proclaims: ´1954 Bern, 1974 München, 1990 Rom, 2006 Hier´.
That 1974 German triumph was achieved with only three run-of-the-mill group games in then-West Berlin.
And when the 1988 European Championships came to German, pre-unification Berlin was missed out entirely.
No wonder an estimated 65,000 people took to the streets of Berlin celebrating last Saturday´s victory over Sweden in Munich.
Yet the last two days have seemed strangely subdued in the capital - the calm before the ´Sturm-und-Drang´, perhaps.
The bulbous, Eiffel-outsoaring TV Tower, so long an odd symbol of East Berlin, has been given a pink lick of paint to resemble a giant football - owned by Barbie.
Here and there you can spot a straggle of early-arriving Argentinians, even-earlier-arriving Britons or Brazilians.
Or a stray hazy Aussie, who can´t quite bring himself to follow his team home yet.
But the big screen and the ´fan fest' at the Brandeburg Gate look a little lonely, dominated by paid and voluntary staff filling in time.
Even the omnipresent mobile beer stalls haven´t all bothered to open all hours yet.
Today they will, though.
The second round - indeed, the whole tournament since the second set of first-round matches - may have been a case of ´never mind the quality, feel the quantity´.
But now the business end of the World Cup will finally hear from Berlin its Wilkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome - and hopefully live up to those premature boasts of ´best tournament ever´.
These past two days have felt like two too many.