The quarter-final between Greece and Germany, like no other carries an extra political burden with it. On the one hand Greece a country which is bothering the Euro zone quite some bit to say the least. On the other Germany, the strongest economy of the continent will play out who will progress to the semi-final at Euro 2012.
These two fields of human interaction should normally be two separated spheres; but nothing is normal any more these days. A life on the edge, on the brink has become the norm. Avery Brundage assured the world in 1956 that ‘sport is completely free of politics.’ That this is not true was made clear 20 years before Brundage made his remark: the Berlin Olympics in 1936 also dubbed as ‘the Nazi Olympics.’ During the two-week event Hitler and Nazi Germany enjoyed huge media attention and presented the world a changed Germany. Yet, this was only a masquerade as it turned out later and where this has led Germany is well known and well documented.
Germany’s biggest selling daily paper Bild-Zeitung has launched a campaign against Greece last year, labelling the people of Greece ‘Pleite-Griechen’, the skint Greeks. This was last year but it has changed the attitude of many Greeks towards Germany, who had a positive view of Germany ever since. In the same paper Thomas Müller, top scorer of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa said that politics is not topic No.1 among the German players but has not ruled out jokes about Greece and Greeks in general. He finished saying that he knows Greek people and considers them a nice bunch.
This propaganda campaign has won the paper an acclaimed prize from the Johanna-Quandt-Stiftung and at the same time it was declaration of moral bankruptcy of German journalism as one of the best media analyses described the ceremony. A far more outspoken critique of Germany is delivered by dearkitty1.wordpress.com who attacks Angela Merkel of using double standards and suffering amnesia. Before the tournament, Merkel refused to visit Ukraine on accounts of human rights violations against Yulia Tymoshenko. Now that the German team play in Poland, Merkel will of course attend the game against Greece tonight.
Whatever the outcome of tonight’s game scorn will be poured over the losing team from the winner, that much is certain. Yet the standards have already sunk to unforeseen depths and the Greek players are said to be calm ahead of the game, like their German counterparts. Nonetheless, a game of football is to be played and once more history and politics will be two key players in the clash between Greece and Germany.
- Greeks all fired up for Germany clash (ekathimerini.com)
- How Soccer Will Decide the Euro Crisis (It Won’t) (businessweek.com)
- Euro 2012: Politics put to one side as Greece promise Germany a fight | Paul Wilson (guardian.co.uk)
- Greece to go to battle against Germany (iol.co.za)
- Greece football fans: ‘We have to beat Germany and Merkel at Euro 2012’ (telegraph.co.uk)
- Germany v Greece: fans and players try to put politics aside in Euro 2012 clash (guardian.co.uk)
- Euro underdog Greece relishes Germany soccer clash (reuters.com)
- Euro 2012: the political subtext revealed (guardian.co.uk)
- Cartoon: Greece v Germany, the Bailout Game (englishblog.com)