Saturday, July 10, 2010

Third-Place German World Cup Win: Deutschland Bejubelt WM-Bronze #ger

If it wasn't for the TV announcers continually (a) complaining about the audience booing a Uruguay player, and (b) continually stressing the unimportance of this game, I'd have completely enjoyed today's third-place game between Uruguay and Deutschland.

Nonetheless, it was a 3:2 German victory over Uruguay. We got to see some players who haven't seen much (or any) game time so far in the tournament. German coach Joachim Löw apparently left his sick bed (due to the flu) to attend, and he seemed to get progressively more animated along the sidelines as his team took and lost and retook the lead. And the end result was good.

It is too sad that Miroslav Klose didn't have a chance to go after his record-tying 15th World Cup goal, but the 32-year-old player was on the sidelines with a bad back. (Perhaps from all of those summersaults.) But we still got to see a second international goal from Friedrich, some action from Thomas Müller, and even Kiessling nearly got on the scoreboard. Good work Germany, good game Uruguay, good time.

So it's all over for die Mannschaft, the German team, this young group of players that was given no chance of getting far in the tournament but that surprised everyone with a style of play that was at once disciplined (as German football stereotypically is) and exciting (as German football stereotypically is not). All of those injuries, including to the great Michael Ballack, resulted in the team pulling in some recent U21 players ans surprising the world. The team gave us some of the most enjoyable and beautiful football of the World Cup, and if they didn't win the tournament, there are two very big and very real consolations:

  1. Third place still means they beat 166 other teams
  2. They're still young, so watch out, everyone else.

A larger, wider, and ultimately more important result is the success of this team off the field in affecting the image of Germany. The players come from Africa, Germany, Poland, Brazil; they're being wildly celebrated in the streets of Germany; they're Christian and Muslim; they play great. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has praised the diverse team, and the people on the streets seem delighted with the the Nationalelf (the national 11). I haven't properly compared the team's diversity against the American World Cup team, but there's a good chance that Germany's would be the more diverse racially and religiously.

See the video here. More reporting (in German) from the Berlin tabloid Bild.
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