Opinion: One more time about football
Over the last month a lot of world’s men and fewer women were indulged in a football fiesta which was held in Brazil. Truth to be told, there are a lot of people who do not like football. English photographer David Bailey once said that he imagines hell to consist of four men in a car talking about football.
Grand football is also being enjoyed not only by ordinary people, but also by political leaders who were watching World Cup final at Rio de Janeiro two weeks ago. The English saying that “football is a very simple game which is being played by two teams, but Germans always win,” this time was confirmed.
Germany’s national team, which is always attacking like German units at the First World War and every single player is defending very actively, this time won after a very long break. Germany has finally proved its power and not only in their economy. Young players, whose ethnic variety is a testimony of new society formation, matured. Some time ago Brazil played the most beautiful football in the whole world, but the loss against Germany, 1:7, showed that those times when Socrates, Ronaldo and Zico played are gone. It seems like Brazil’s social problems responded in a football field as well.
And not so long ago it seemed like Germans, when players of the West Germany finished their careers after beating Argentina in 1990, did not have big chances to win this time.
The surprising victory against Hungary in 1954 united the German nation. Since World War II any manifestations of nationalism were forbidden, and the national football team became the new symbol of German unity. Stephen Herberger, former coach of the German team which won the championship in 1954, liked to say that a good football player is a good warrior, Kämpfer. Some football players of that team were real warriors who were fighting in World War II so military words stayed in the Germans’ football dictionary for a long time.
Forward Gerd Muller, who scored a decisive goal against Holland in 1974, was called der Bomber, German star Franz Beckenbauer – der Kaiser, and other players had nicknames of field marshals. After the victory in Italy at 1990, team’s coach Franz Beckenbauer forecasted: „When the talented youth of East Germany joins, nobody from the rest of the world will ever defeat us.“ However, Italy, France, Brazil, and Spain became champions and Germany was always in the background.
A lot has changed. It has been a long time since the militaristic origin and rhetoric was accentuated and now the team consists of players with different ethnicities. Forwards Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski are from Poland, Mezut Ozil of “Real” Madrid is Turkish, halfback’s Sami Khedira’s father is from Tunisia, and Jerome Boatenga has double citizenship of Ghana and Germany. Some players had a chance to play for Turkey, Ghana and Tunisia, but they chose to play for Germany – for the country to which their parents came to look for a better life and where they grew up.
A decade ago Germany’s football federation formed an effective system on how to select the best young players to all national teams. The selective human resources Mannschaft process, which was completed through the football academies, is another intriguing attribute of Germans football. Germany’s success did not come because of the fighting spirit as it was in 1954 and 1974. It was determined by the use of different human resources.
In all, Germany’s example (in economy, sport and science) is a testament about the success of democracy, successful integration of different races and ethnic diversity into the society, and what this society is able to achieve.
Edited by Paul Moriarty