The last few weeks have been intense. I had never thought I’d need to recover from a football (soccer for my fellow Aussies) tournament – as a mere spectator. Now I thought I knew what I was in for. Germany, is a football nation – a trip to the stadium will not only prove the devote commitment and passion of the fans but illustrate how talented the football professionals are. Having now earned their fourth star, the deutsche Mannschaft are a football force to be reckoned with.
To preface the post with some honesty, I don’t really ‘follow’ spectator sports, however – if I had to identify a sport I’ve been most ‘involved’ with, it’d have to be football – with my sideline cheerleading covering both the feisty Saturday matches between friends in the local competition to the professional sports. Being an international tournament however, I was excited.
Living in a household where my main man has been heard to use the term ‘offside’ on many non-football related occasions, I was pre-warned: football would be our main focus over the entirety of the World Cup tournament – social events were postponed and any days where no matches were scheduled were to be used to catch up on long and/or sleepless nights. And while the game schedule wasn’t too inconvenient for the German timezone (most matches beginning from 18:00 and ended in the early hours of the morning), the days were nevertheless endless – with many nights consisting of multiple games per evening and always followed by a post-game analysis.
With my background I was blessed with a few cheerleading options – Australia, Greece and Germany. While it meant that I was required to deliver consistent commitment it increased my chances of reaching the final round. And that we did.
Such an event like the World Cup meant people with all sorts of interests and backgrounds were brought together – driven by the pride of cheering-on their home turf. And bringing people together, it certainly did. For me, this meant sitting amongst a passionate group of ‘misplaced’ Aussies in Munich’s Augustiner Biergarten to cheer on the Socceroos as they put up a good fight against the team from Netherlands. Despite the poor outcome for the Socceroos – being amongst the banter, the Aussie accent and the (small) sea of green & gold will be a moment hard to forget.
The highlight however was being amongst the crowd in Munich’s iconic Olympic Stadium to witness the German team thrash the Brazilian team with a whopping 7 – 1. The fans were in good spirit before the game – and with both the outcome and pace of the game this was only catapulted to new heights. While it felt a little out of place when I didn’t join in to sing the German national anthem – this quickly vanished as I was thrown into the celebrations, which peaked higher with each goal scored. It all just happened so fast – we were still jumping up and down in celebration of the third goal when the fourth goal was scored and I recall asking myself – is this actually happening?
After both Australia’s and Greece’s performance, I wasn’t too convinced of my chances with Germany until witnessing their unbelievable stamina in the semi-final. I didn’t express this to my main man, nor my German family – who’s hopes were always high for the Nationalmannschaft.
Things definitely became over-heated between the semi-final and final – with celebration and speculation overtaking all spheres of daily life. Everyone was over the moon with the performance delivered by the German team, shop fronts covered their stores with fan-material, crowds dressed in the German football jersey and football chants were heard everywhere. A production of memes flooded social media –
On top of this – a whole new world of football-themed schlager songs were introduced to me, something I could’ve easily done without hearing.
By the time the final rolled around I was excited, hopeful and at the same time a little relieved – I wasn’t accustomed to so much football banter. After my commitment throughout the tournament I missed watching the final live. A last minute trip to Crete with my family obviously took precedence over the football (and what an amazing weekend I had) – but I was still a little disappointed to have missed the fever and passion brought by winning the Cup, especially having seen the German energy in the lead-up. This was easily made up by a thorough session of match-highlight reviews but mostly by the post-win adrenaline* exhibited by my main man – which has yet to slow down.
While the initial excitement has dissipated (much to my disappointment) – evidence of the fever still lingers; car owners are reluctant to remove their German flags/ or side-mirror ‘ears’ from their car, parents have eagerly named their newborn child Mario or Mats, the new four-starred jersey is constantly sold-out (ridiculous to think how quick it hit the shelves), groups randomly break out in football chants and others are simply happy sporting german-inspired outfits…
And just to keep the fever going, there’s only one month left until the German national football league (Bundesliga) begins!
* This included: Chanting all the favourite football tunes at home (at all hours), while waiting at the traffic lights, while walking the streets (which of course mustered the cheering of any passers-by; signing off emails with ‘Wir sind die Weltmeister’, and randomly breaking out in to the team’s ‘Gaucho dance’.