A German view on English football
- 25 June 2010
- From the section Europe
I'm not allowed to attach a German flag to our car. That's my wife's decree.
Never mind that millions of German men have cars sporting nice flags of black, red and gold. My wife calls it nationalism. My wife does not understand football.
No, I'm not a nationalist. I love football, but only when it comes to the World Cup. I don't follow the Bundesliga at all, like many of my countrymen.
But during a World Cup we'll wave flags and wear silly wigs painted black, red and gold.
However, playing England is nobody's idea of fun. We all still remember that awful moment.
You know, the one with the Russian referee. Ball behind the line? Every German has seen this clip a million times.
That's why we're not keen to play England. By the way: Who is the referee on Sunday? Is he Russian? If yes, I'll need a forest of flags.
What I don't understand, though, are newspaper headlines like The Sun's "Get Ready for Germ Warfare".
We have nothing against the English. On the contrary: Lady Diana was our Queen Of Hearts, too.
I see little difference between the drinking habits of German and British football hooligans.
And anyway, when I talk to English friends about football, they never ever use words like "Blitzkrieg" or "Fritz".
I have no idea why British media, especially the tabloids, use these hackneyed stereotypes. Don't they know better?
World War II is long over. I was born in 1971.
The first foreign language I learned in school was English. And through exchange programmes I met plenty of humorous and lovely English students that were pretty much like us (apart from the watery beer they liked).
I suspect that British journalists rely on these stereotypes because they lack creativity.
There's only one match pairing that's like a red rag to a bull for us: Germany - Netherlands.
That would bring up plenty of bad memories. Everybody remembers when Frank Rijkaard spat at Rudi Voeller during the 1990 World Cup in Italy.
No German team likes to play the Dutch.
Feast of football
But England - that should be a fascinating feast of football: A classic, 90 minutes of highly-emotional fair play - with one winning team at the end.
And this time it will be very exciting: Germany has one of the youngest teams in its footballing history.
The English have stars like Wayne Rooney - who doesn't score any more (hopefully). Oh, and there are our penalty shoot-out specialists.
Another opinion of a truly neutral party - the chef of our staff restaurant who is Swiss. His bet: Germany will win on Sunday. Why? "Your team is very young and is getting better with each game. And the English team isn't that good."
I disagree with him. Part of me hopes we lose against England.
After all, who wants to meet Argentina in the quarter final?