wherein DF travels to Deutschland for the 2006 world cup to follow the US men's national soccer team

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Germany narrowly beats mediocre Polish team; pandemonium sweeps nation

I'm not sure how the Germans will outdo last night's scene if they actually do win the World Cup. Here in Berlin, craziness erupted when Neuville's late goal sealed a win against Poland and a spot in the second round. And I don't mean that there was a general sense of celebration, either, but rather that the streets were beseiged by cars with horn-honking drivers and crazy German fans standing atop moving vehicles waving their nation's flag. Eventually, the police closed down many areas (including around the Kurfuerstendamm where I'm at) and turned them into gigantic pedestrian malls that were overrun by celebrating Germans (and defiant, flag-waving Poles).

It was great but I've just got to say the intensity of the response surprised me. After all, so far the Germans have looked shaky at best in their two wins. They scored four against Costa Rica but let in two against a team that is really not very good (they just got schooled against Ecuador 3-0 today for an early exit from the tournament). Then against Poland the game looked for all the world like it was going to end in a draw until Neuville's late heroics. The victory was truly exciting but considering that Poland looked awful in their first game--which Ecuador won, 2-0--the result hardly flatters Germany.

The other strange thing about yesterday's Germany-wide hysterics was that the game produced an entirely unsurprising result. Everyone expected Germany, the host and world soccer power, to get out of their group at least--especially when they were drawn against such lightweight opponents. I could imagine a city-stopping celebration if the team won the World Cup or even if they got an exciting result in a knockout round, but what went down yesterday would be the equivalent of Detroit natives rioting when the Pistons merely clinched a playoff spot in the notoriously weak NBA Eastern Conference.

Then again, maybe I underestimate the German appetite for parties. It could be that however impressive last night's outpouring was, it was only the appetizer, and that the main courses are going to be even more resplendent still. I'll be happy to discover that I was wrong about all this.

{Pic #1: German fans celebrate Neuville goal @ Berlin FanFest.}

{Pic #2: Fireworks dot Berlin sky as celebrating motorists cruise the Ku'damm area.}


Anonymous Anonymous said...

better than "decent czech republic team" sees off dreadful US team.

7:13 PM, June 15, 2006

Blogger DF said...

I think the Czechs are just a bit better than "decent", but it's true that just about anything would have been better than that game: a root canal, a non-anesthetized colonoscopy, listening to Ethel Merman albums at max volume, etc.

7:44 AM, June 16, 2006

Anonymous El Presidente said...

I was in Germany for the Euro Championship in 1996 (thank you, Let's Go), won by the Mannschaft. I can assure you that the crescendo of madness has yet to reach its apex. Every city I went to -- even the shitty, tiny Dorfs -- exploded with each German win. I nearly witnessed rioting in Leipzig when the Germans won. My memories of the tournament are vague, in part because I didn't spend nearly as much time following the tournament as I now wish I had, but I do recall a strong tournament by Klinsman and an important goal by a man named Kuntz. The goal is neck-and-neck in my memory for the title of most important sporting achievement by a man named Kuntz... Let us not forget, after all, that Rusty Kuntz had the game-winning RBI in Game 5 of the World Series to clinch Detroit's last title.

10:19 AM, June 16, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the reason why we celebrated that way is that we are such pessimistic negative people. For month and month the media and we ourselves convinced ourselves that this Geman team is the worst ever, that Neonazis would take over the cities and everything would be shit.

It's just relief, so much relief and joy.

12:57 PM, June 16, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"that just about anything would have been better than that game "

oh try being a scotland supporter....

4:10 PM, June 16, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"that just about anything would have been better than that game "

oh try being a scotland supporter....

4:10 PM, June 16, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enjoyed a lot!

6:07 PM, November 17, 2006


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