(Here is the diary of Andreas’s last five days in South Africa, from the response to the tight 1-0 victory over Ghana to the joy of stuffing England 4-1…)
Thursday 24th June
1 am and back in the hotel…wrecked body and soul dead…a match that got me physically exhausted as if I played myself. Tense, tight and nervous…on and off the pitch. A team that is visibly insecure, immature. Beautiful strike from otherwise disastrous Oezil. Brilliant atmosphere, sold out crowd, and the most colourful crowd of Germany supporters I have ever seen. There seemed to be more Asians and Africans in BlackRedGold than Germans. My God, what a relief. Now England. Bring them on. Bring them on. Watching Italy hopefully being eliminated tomorrow at Ellis Park – Sorry Daniele – and then off to Blomfontein…small Stadium, small city…400 km from here, and it will be a cool ride..
Friday 25th June
A Love Letter to Emma and Daniele
When I walked over to Ellis Park today for the game of Italy I, of course, hoped that at the end of the day could celebrate an early exit of the Italian team from the world Cup, like anyone who loves this beautiful game. Why? Because of Inzaghi, even if he is not here, because of the arrogance this team shows on the pitch, because they got away too often with mediocre play, because they betrayed a brave Australian team of their greatest moment with a dive 4 years ago, because they were so arrogant to send this aging, boring and uninspired team to the Cup, because, well, we are Italy. But now, at night, back in the hotel, walking back, man, thousands of sad Italian fans. Sad? An archetypical type of sadness. Without a doubt no culture on this planet celebrates sadness as beautifully as the Italians do. Single tears…shock and agony…A drama worthy of the big screen. And, oh boy, well dressed. Sad and elegant. A spectacle in itself.
As you might have understood by now, I am writing this to let you know that I share your grief, your pain and your desperation. I am Italian tonight. And seeing you guys being last in a group with New Zealand, Paraguay and Slowakia does not make me laugh at all. Really not.
Oh, and I miss you both. It would have been nice to have you here tonight…
P.S. Now you can finally get your Germany flags out of the closet.
Saturday 26th June
In Bloemfontein, and there seem to be more English and Germans then actual inhabitants. The match is tomorrow and it feels BIG. The local media is going a bit nuts, and it’s a bit embarrassing, too. Examples? One national paper had the front page reading “Germany and England ready for war.” Bloody idiots. Another one had before the Ghana game the header “Ghana prepares for German Blitzkrieg” and after, under a picture of Oezil (!!!) ”Deutschland ueber alles”. Today the Star wrote ”We are ready for Ze English”…
A bit gross, that a countries media, that is complaining since weeks about the stereotypes and prejudice they see in foreign reports about South Africa is producing crap like that. Anyhow, we might have to live with this for the century. If we win it’s “Germany looking for freedom”, I am sure..
Of course, for us Germans, being the theatre loving people we are, it is top notch entertainment to sit back in the audience, and watch the drama of a once glorious nation to put all their hopes in catching a glimpse of that lost splendour into the hands of 11, intellectually- limited individuals – is there anyone actually taking Terry REALLY seriously? – every 2 years, only to see it failing again and again with an astonishing predictability, and then defeat being blown into biblical proportions by a hysteric media. That’s Greek stuff, isn’t it? Or better, it was the first 3, 4 times…Now it’s more like Monty Python..
And actually: the truth is, we love each other. Brothers, kind of. They have, what we want – a glorious past- and we have what they desire – a functioning society. Besides that, brothers. The nasty, raucous one, always a bit too loud and drinking too much, but clearly more fun, and the other one better in school, but with a stick up his ass…
Will we win? No idea. Whatever will happen, it will be highly entertaining, and, whoever will win, Argentina will be waiting, very likely, and that was that.
I am excited. Totally. The good way. It will be grand.
Sunday 27th June
Germany 4 (Klose, Podolski, Müller ) England 1 (Upson)
Monday 28th June
Hermanus, after a 1,100 km ride from Bloemfontein.
3 Lions – 4 Goals…Nearly half of the time on the bike today I spent singing “joyful, victorious”. It was a beautiful day. A justification for the whole trip. The sun was out, the atmosphere thrilling but peaceful, the game: unforgettable. I had endorphin rushes the whole 90 minutes, was dancing on the press tribunes after, gave a live interview to the Austrian radio, was shot by South African TV when ecstatically singing the anthem. It was beyond belief.
Seeing the 2 counterattacks up close, and subconsciously knowing what is happening, and see it executed, with surgical precision…priceless. Despite the Lampard shot, which I am very, very sad about that it was denied, there was a class between the teams, and here, you might be bored by now, especially psychologically. A kind of naive youthfulness, no “cleverness”, but a lot of passion, against a team dominated by vague sense of fear. Simply put, I don’t think it has ever been more joyful to be a German football supporter then in the last 2 days.
I know I should not say that, but I am quite sure we will go out against Argentina. I am afraid to see Mertesacker against Tevez, and I assume Mister Khedira will find his limits too against little Leo. Anyhow, no one can take that day away from me. Just a game, but I have been smiling for the past 24 hours.