My football fanishness came to something of a sad end on Sunday when German lost 0-1 in the final match against Spain. It was quite pitiful. We did not play well, and as a foreigner, it was almost comical to observe the almost silent procession of cars out of the city when compared to the uproar which followed the quarter- and half- finals. There were some fireworks (supposedly in honor of Spain), but it seemed to me more as though the boys had bought them supposing that we would win and then decided to set them off just so they would not go to waste.
The quarterfinal and half-final were something to see, however. The match against Portugal was just flat out an incredible game, and the excitement of the other players at the Public Viewing was thoroughly entertaining. The half final was against Turkey, and the politics of the game was quite interesting. Germany has a relatively high Turkish population and the foreigners are, unfortunately, rather looked down upon (often for what seems logical reasons). The very political message before, during and after the match was that everyone needed to be sportsmanly and that particularly means there should be no burning of flags or punching of the fans of the opposing team. I even received a notice from the America Embassy warning that although they expected a peaceful observation of the match, there was the possibility of riots in some of the larger cities such as Berlin. As I went to meet a group of German acquaintances at the public viewing I was very clear in my mind that the possibility of danger would come if the Turkish team one. Fortunately, the Germans won, and the town had a very long night of celebrating.
Having finished my night of revelry after the Halbfinale with a back ache from too much standing, I decided to watch the final not at the Public Viewing on the Pferdemarkt, but rather in a restaurant where I could satisfy my Radler (sprite and whitebeer) craving and general hunger. Today my friend Anna informed me that it is my fault that Germany lost the match because I did not join her at the viewing, and I was the Glucksbringer (good luck charm). So my apologies to all of you who were rooting for Germany. Had I known my power I would have endured my hunger and thirst and gone to the marketplace.