I’m normally not the world’s biggest football fan. Oh, I like football all right and I’m happy when our local first league team Werder Bremen wins (which sadly hasn’t been all that many times these past few years). But mostly it’s enough for me to know the result afterwards – I don’t actually have to watch the match live.
World Cups normally interest me even less than regular league games, because our national team is usually made up from a lot of players from clubs I couldn’t care less about and about half of them are Bayern Munich players at any given time. And Werder Bremen supporters normally don’t much like Bayern Munich, because the two clubs are archrivals.
However, yesterday’s World Cup semi-final, where Germany beat Brazil 7:1, was the big exception, since it was the best football match I’ve seen in a long time and a damn entertaining ninety minutes of TV in general.
I hadn’t actually planned to watch the whole match, since I was rather tired last night. Plus, I’d had a service tech at my home all afternoon long, repairing a leaky ACU. Besides – as I said – mostly knowing the result is enough for me.
I watched at my parents’. That is, my Mom and I watched on the first floor, while my Dad was in the basement catching up with some paperwork. When the first goal happened, approx. 11 minutes in, I went down the two flights of stairs into the basement to tell my Dad. A few minutes later, the second goal happened (scored by former Werder Bremen player Miroslav Klose, who is now the top World Cup scorer of all time with 16 goals altogether). So I went down the two flights of stairs again to tell my Dad and hadn’t even made it back up, when I heard my Mom cheering. “Don’t tell me they just scored another?”, I asked disbelievingly.
About two minutes later I had to go down to the basement yet again to report on goal No. 4. By the time goal No. 5 happened, my Dad had finally made it up to the TV room.
When the half time whistle sounded, I could have gone home, because it was pretty clear that Germany was going to win that match. But though I was still tired, I stuck around and watched Germany score two more goals and finally Brazil scoring their “goal of honour” in the last two minutes. All of which was fantastically entertaining, though I felt a bit sorry for the Brazilian players and fans, many of whom were openly crying. In fact, by the last two goals several Brazilian fans actually started clapping for Germany, which was really nice.
Also nice was watching German players comforting Brazilian players – often players who play in the same teams in the regular league games and thus know each other – after the game. At one point, several German Bayern Munich players were comforting Dante, a Brazilian playing for Bayern Munich.
No matter what happens in the final, this was one hell of a match. And it happened almost to the day sixty years after the so-called “miracle of Berne”, when Germany beat Hungary in the 1954 World Cup final (apparently Hungary were a contender back then) and also almost to the day forty years after Germany beat the Netherlands in the 1974 World Cup final. They took the cup once more, in 1990, which is the only German World Cup win I can actually remember, even though I was theoretically alive for the 1974 win.
Driving home, I was a bit surprised to hear quiet and sad music on the radio, because this was so not a night for quiet music. There still was very little traffic, though I did hear some fireworks and a few car horns (common in big cities, but not in the semi-rural suburb where I live).
Back home, I watched the late night news and logged onto the Internet. I saw a few stupid Nazi jokes/remarks on Twitter, which were not just not funny but also totally uncalled for, and actually unfollowed one guy over those tweets.
There also were some people complaining about people daring to watch and enjoy something as trivial as a football match and the news programmes devoting time to football coverage, when there is a massive crisis going on in the Middle East and another in Ukraine. Now I’m not a big fan of extensive sport coverage to the detriment of other news, but this was an exception. Never mind that both the half-time news and the late night news did cover the situation in Israel/Gaza and Ukraine. And expecting people not to watch a major sports event and celebrate a win is just contrary to human nature, especially since there is always something horrible happening somewhere in the world.
That said, missile shrapnel hitting the German cruise liner Aida Diva off the Israeli coast is not the most important bit of news about the situation in Israel/Gaza, even if some news programs tried to spin it that way.