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Friday, 18 July 2014 00:00

The morning after the night before

Written by Stefan Kreppel
Deutsche Flagge - klein
Photo: Tobias Melzer (CC BY-SA 3.0)
 
Not even German supermarkets could resist showing their colours

 

E&M reader Stefan Kreppel gives his personal take on Germany's World Cup win in Brazil.

It’s the morning after Germany won the most prestigious title in the footballing world. I’m sitting on the train on my way to work, slightly hungover. The woman next to me has got herself one of those special issues that newspapers produce on such occasions and is reliving the most important moments of this World Cup for the German team.

The smile on her face reflects the feeling most Germans are experiencing after four weeks of soccer: satisfaction. Having fallen at the final hurdle in the previous four international tournaments, the title seemed long overdue in the eyes of the team, its fans and especially the media. Being the odds-on favourite to win transferred a lot of nervousness to the players, as well as to the people watching the match on one of the countless big screen televisions set up at public venues back home in Germany.

When those 120 nail-biting minutes in the Maracana stadium were up, there was a great sense of relief. It led the German football magazine 11 Freunde to give their live commentary text the final title "Warum nicht gleich so?" ("What took us so long?")

If I'm honest though, I've not been fully able to embrace the World Cup this year. And it's not only the media pressure I've just mentioned that prevented me from doing so. It’s also the riots that have taken place in Brazil targeting the enormous costs of the tournament, the current escalating conflict in Israel and Palestine, and the strange feeling that these kinds of sport events, despite the efforts of officials, will probably not improve relations between the countries involved.

Nationalistic shouts from fans did occur – not only in Germany – and, when mixed with the highly-charged atmosphere of a football match, they created an uncomfortable environment. Especially if you bear in mind that a quarter of the German players have an immigrant background. Luckily, most people were sophisticated enough not to fall for WW2 rhetoric and left the shouters isolated. Let’s keep it that way, allowing people to express their joy for the successful World Cup appearance, but always being cautious when it leads to insulting gestures like that of the three German fans who painted their faces black during the match against Ghana.

For myself, I’d like to remember not only the victory of the German team, but above all the little moments that turned this World Cup into a very emotional one: David Luiz making the audience chant for his opponent James Rodríguez or the now famous mustachioed Brazilian supporter handing over his World Cup replica to some German fans after the match in Belo Horizonte.

The woman next to me has now reached her stop and leaves the train. But not before carefully putting on a black, red and gold bracelet that I expect she plans to wear today at work. Celebrating the World Cup victory in 2014, German style: proud, yet humble.  

Last modified on Wednesday, 03 September 2014 10:35

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