Thursday, July 13, 2006

Ahhh, the World Cup. If you are checking dotde for the final results of that wee tournament, we feel obliged to inform you that your ignorance forces us to ask the following question: Where on earth do you live?? In recognition that the answer is fairly obvious (let's face it--the U. S. of A.), the following is for those viewers who were originally excited about the WM but lost interest after the US managed to score only a single goal in three games (not counting the one that Italy defender Cristian Zaccardo knocked into his own goal on our behalf).

Reasons Why I Loved the Weltmeisterschaft This Year, And Germany's Team In Particular:

6. Beer Gardens and Enormous TVs. Germany was more than prepared for the entire world to descend for three weeks and, even better, the country knew that about half of the world would consist of college students on tight budgets (recent delightful visitors to dotde Keith and Derek--we're looking at you). Hence, the enormous tv screens erected all over every town in Germany where anyone could watch the game for free. And you could bring your own beer. What could be better, you ask? Putting one of those screens in the Main river, of course. Too bad for fans that some river cruise captain got a little rudder happy and clipped the giant screen just days before the final match. It isn't for nothing, however, that Germans are the best engineers in the world--the screen was repaired and working again by the time Brazil lost to Portugal.

5. Jens Lehmann vs. Oliver Kahn. Oliver Kahn is no saint--he scandalized Germany when he left his wife Simone during her eighth month of pregnancy with their second son. But, the man is classy enough on the pitch. Despite being replaced in April by an introverted Jens Lehmann, Kahn spent the WM on the bench, congratulating just about everyone (including Lehmann, after the shoot-out against Argentina) and grinning for the fans. For his final game, Kahn took over as keeper for the match against Portugal and as captain he steered the team to a 3-1 victory.

4. Philipp Lahm. Really, who couldn't say lovely things about Philipp Lahm? Lahm initially stood out, for me at least, because even in the baking hot sun, the man still played for 90 minutes in long sleeved shirts. I couldn't figure it out--superstitious? Modesty? Fear of skin cancer? It all became clear during the quarter finals, though--the defender played the entire WM with a injured elbow and had to tape his arm for most of the games. Lahm was easily one of the most fun players to watch on any of the teams; he has a special knack for running up the field, crossing into the middle and scoring--a bit uncommon for defenders.

3. Patriotism. Germany has an odd relationship with patriotism. Up until a month ago, visible patriotism was linked to the far right--it was avoided, shunned and looked down on. National flags were scarce and demonstrations of love for one's country were even more rare. You would've been hard pressed to know it, though, during WM. Flags adorned just about everything--not such an oddity for most Americans, and yet absolutely startling for the average German.

2. Juergen Klinsmann. The German blondie caught criticism early on after he took over as coach for the German National Team. After all, the man left his homeland to live in Southern California! He had an 11 hour commute to work!! To add insult to injury, he insisted on putting a whole group of young cubs on the roster and then, throwing salt in the wound, he famously declared that legendary Oliver Kahn--Germany's beloved keeper--would be replaced by testy Jens Lehmann. Despite all of this, however, Klinsmann was far and away my favorite coach. The man has a way of making you forget that he was leading the charge for Germany's economic recovery and rehabilitation within the international community. How did he manage this feat? Primarily by being happy. After every goal scored by his boys, the man didn't simply clap or smile for the cameras. Instead, he would hold is own personal, utterly unconstrained celebration and then grab the person nearest to him and give the guy a bear hug. Poor assistant coach Joachim Loew probably ended the WM with about three cracked ribs.

1. The Fans. Perhaps my favorite moment of the Weltmeisterschaft 2006 came during the last game. At center-field, somewhere up in the stands, a group of fans had brought with them an enormous sign that was repeatedly visible in the video feed. It read:
"Thank you for being our guests."

1 Comments:

Blogger megan said...

hey d&j,

have you played the zidane game yet? i know it is pretty sick,but...

anyway, here is the link:
http://www.gazzetta.it/openxlink.shtml?http://widelec.org/zidane.html

miss you both!

mk

2:45 AM

 

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