Monday, July 10, 2006

who are you people and what have you done with the germans?

Well, the World Cup is over. Spit, sweat and tears all around. Germany did a fabulous job and managed to snag third place. Sebastian "Schweini" Schweinsteiger was the start of the evening, scoring all three German goals in the game against Portugal. The German team got a rousing reception at noon yesterday in Berlin and said they couldn't have done it without their fans.

And France vs. Italy on Sunday? Sacré bleu! What a game that was! Smelling salts for Thierry Henry during the first half followed in the second half by a brutal head-butt to the chest for Italian Materazzi by Zinedine "Zizou" Zidane after Materazzi supposedly made some extremely disparaging remarks about Zidane and his family. Only time will tell what really went on there. Zizou was sent off with a red card, ending his remarkable football career on a bitter note, but was still named best World Cup player. Italy went on to win the championship in the penalty shoot-out. Viva Italia, I guess.

Now that things have calmed down a bit, the analysis begins. All day today most TV stations were showing retrospective pictures of smiling, happy fans. Smiling, happy, German fans, even. Germans who waved their country's flag with pride, no longer needing to wonder if it was all right to do so. Germans who displayed amazing hospitality and friendliness to so many foreign guests. Many are now asking if this is going to last, if the World Cup somehow caused Germany's apparent attitude adjustment. Some say it will be business as usual in no time, but others maintain that this is the start of something big that has been building up for the past 60 years and that the games have just been a catalyst.

The World Cup is the best thing to happen to Germany in a long, long time and national pride is definitely not out of place here. In this morning's paper there was a quote by Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany's Federal Minister for the Interior, that sums it up nicely:

"Wir fangen fast schon an, uns selber zu mögen."

Translation: "We're almost starting to like ourselves."

We like you too, Germany. Congratulations on a job well done.


At July 11, 2006 2:55 a.m., Blogger Maribeth said...

All I can say is that we really enjoyed watching the games and the background presentations they did about the wonders of Germany. It made me miss it and want to come over there for a visit. Oh well, next year.

At July 11, 2006 7:38 a.m., Blogger Karen said...

It has been a bit of fresh air, hasn't it?

At July 11, 2006 8:18 a.m., Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

My World Cup participation was pretty much limited to viewing the many "Babes of the World Cup" slideshows on the Internet.

And in this respect, I can confirm that Germany was very well represented.

But even in this aspect of the "beautiful game"'s tough for any nation to beat the Brazilians.

Sal (back to Corn Flakes and saltpeiter for another four years)

At July 11, 2006 10:05 a.m., Anonymous tobias said...

It is madness that a big and important country like Germany should suffer from bad confidence. Get rid of it and bloom! Dancing, happy Germans, we can never have to many of them... :)

At July 11, 2006 3:52 p.m., Blogger christina said...

maribeth - The organization was just perfect and I think it gave foreigers a totally different view of Germany.

karen - The atmosphere was so nice. Let's hope it stays that way.

Sal - I just googled "Babes of the World Cup" and whoah!! Now we know what you've been doing in your spare time. :-) Yes, those German Fräuleins are quite something but Mr. M is also partial to the Brazilian beauties. I'm not sure I'll be telling him about the slideshows though...

Tobias -Yes, it's madness, but that's the way it is, I'm afraid.

At July 11, 2006 6:58 p.m., Blogger Katja said...

It was a wonderful time and I am so proud and happy, that we ourselves as well as people from elsewhere finally start to like and even enjoy Germany!

At July 11, 2006 7:20 p.m., Blogger Haddock said...

I agree whole heartedly with what you wrote. Its been change waiting to happen, and I think Klinnsmann had a big part in it. His attitude, making the players beleive in themselves, then the fans believing in the players, and utimately Germany believing in itself.
Not a bads months work for a football manager/coach! :)

At July 11, 2006 7:33 p.m., Blogger Angie said...

Bravo, Germany!

I couldn't decide which team to cheer on during the final, but settled on France, because I love Zizou and wanted him to go out on a high note... alas.

I think you should personally start the movement of "dancing, happy Germans" as Tobias suggested! You are off to a great start with the feather boas!

At July 11, 2006 8:28 p.m., Blogger christina said...

katja - This is the start of something big!

Haddock - Klinsmann was just superb as a coach. Maybe living in California taught him a few things. :-)

Angie - I was convinced that France would win. Poor Zizou.
I dunno about the dancing - I'll leave that to you young people.

At July 11, 2006 8:52 p.m., Blogger CanadianSwiss said...

I didn't even read the other comments (I sometimes do that when I don't want to be influenced), but that was a really great post. For me, winning in a kick-ff is not really winning. It has to do with luck. A game like Germany won, was a won game. That's it! Congrats on a well done job and on the "Wir fangen fast schon an, uns selber zu mögen".

At July 12, 2006 12:53 a.m., Blogger Ginnie said...

Indeed, indeed! I'm so proud of Germany and now just love her even more. Always did, always will!

At July 12, 2006 12:52 p.m., Blogger christina said...

CanadianSwiss - I know, those kick offs aren't real football at all and SO stressful for players and spectators alike. The German team did extremely well and can be proud of themselves.

Ginnie - Well, Germany's eagerly awaiting your return! :-)

At July 12, 2006 6:25 p.m., Blogger Ginnie said...

Right now we're shooting for July 24-August 4 if we can get one leg of the trip finalized. But I think you'll be in Canada by then? Man, this has been a tough summer for frequent-flier miles to/from Germany! Guess that really says a lot for Germany's popularity right now.

At July 12, 2006 11:21 p.m., Blogger Dixie said...

I love this feeling. I wish it could be bottled.

At July 15, 2006 1:52 a.m., Blogger woman wandering said...

You know what ... I really loved Germany and I didn't expect that. I had read so much about problems with racism, and der Spiegel ran a hilarious piece about German men and then we popped over and discovered some of the friendliest most hospitable people I've met on this European sojourn of mine ... and I can't stop raving about Heidelberg.

Mmmm, excuse me ... but enthusiastic I am. :)


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