Friday, June 16, 2006

Even with all the excitement of travelling to Greece, visiting some wonderful friends and seeing the sun again, J! and I have not forgotten easily the most important event in years for Germany, namely the Weltmeisterschaft! Despite being in Greece for the opening weekend, J! and I still managed to see three games while enjoying, of course, a sampling of some excellent Greek beers. Greece, not having a team in the WM this year isn't quite as frenzied as Deutschland, but we still managed to find quite a few fans who were amused that we were rooting for Germany rather than the US. Not that we're forsaking our homeland, but how cool would it be if Germany wins while we're living here??

The highlights so far have been Germany vs. Poland, in which German striker Oliver Neuville squeeked out a 1:0 win in the last minute of play and The Netherlands vs Ivory Coast, in which the Ivory Coast coach Henri Michel pulled off the lining on the bench in frustration (2:1, The Netherlands). Of special interest for Germany was the Mexico vs. Iran game (3:1). Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad caused a bit of nervousness among German officials by suggesting that if Iran did well he would personally pay a visit to the team to lend his support. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is well known for having publically doubted the Holocaust, which is a crime in Germany. Germany attempted to difuse the situation by declaring Ahmadinejad would be treated as a guest, but there was undoubtably a supressed sigh of relief among German politicians and World Cup officials when Iran lost to Mexico. Racism and football seem to go hand in hand and this is no different at World Cup, where far right neo-Nazis have already emerged to protest against Israel. In response to such demonstrations and to an upsurge in racist acts at soccer stadiums (particularly against black players), FIFA has made the fight against racism a visible point in the games so far, using, for example, "Say No To Racism" as a slogan on the field before the matches.

The Weltmeisterschaft has not only provided J! and I so far with endless entertainment every afternoon from 3 o'clock on, but has made us into local celebrities! After returning from Greece, we watched Germany vs. Poland at our local bar, Mombacher Treff. While settling into our bar stools to enjoy the first half of the game, the couple next to us leaned over to ask if we were rooting for Germany. We grinned and responded that we were, at which point they approvingly nodded their heads and asked where we were from. When told that we lived up the street, our (as it turns out) neighbor became very excited and replied that the bartender had mentioned to everyone that the two local Americans might come to watch one of the games. Success!! We have now gained the undying respect from one of the seediest bars in our neighborhood.


Blogger Arr! said...

Oh man, I can't believe the bartender was talking about you two. Thats incredible. Soon you'll both be sitting at the corner table chain smoking and playing poker while you share a pitcher of Hefeweisen.

6:28 AM

Blogger j said...

Perhaps we deal with different standards, but I think of success in terms of free beer. A minor success for the shots that were bought for D, her parents, and myself. As for the tender, nothing has been sent our way. There's still more work to do.

1:00 PM

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11:24 PM


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