Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wir sind im Finale!

Unless you live under a rock or in the United States, you would know that the European Cup (for this little sport called soccer) is happening at the moment. It's probably the biggest sporting event here in Europe after the World Cup and similar to two years ago, there are flags of every country hanging from windows and flying from cars. Interestingly enough, I think Germans are showing their national pride more than they did two years ago, even though the European Cup is taking place in Austria and Switzerland. It's probably a result of two years ago that they actually showed pride and now feel like it's OK.

Last night Germany played against Turkey and it was intense. In order to understand why, it's important to know that the Turkish population in Germany is extraordinarily high. When I lived in Berlin, my neighborhood Kreuzberg was pretty much a Little Istanbul. Interestingly enough, Turkish families can live in Germany for generations but never get German citizenship. To make a comparison, Germany playing Turkey would be similar to the United States playing Mexico in a sport that everyone cared about (I don't mean soccer, I just mean it generally). Even then, I don't think the comparison even comes close to what the game meant. I will definitely admit that I probably don't comprehend what exactly it meant because of the deeper political and cultural issues that exist between Germans and the Turkish population, even if I have spent 2 years living in Germany.

Turkey scored the first goal of the night, but not too soon afterward, Germany brought the score to a tie. During the second half of the game (around the 59th minute, I think), the TV feed suddenly went dead for a good six or seven minutes. Everyone was shouting, complaining, and wondering why the feed wasn't working. (Apparently a transponder or something was struck by lightning) Luckily, the Swiss television station kicked in and their feed was shown instead. Two more goals were scored by each team and it looked like the game would go into overtime, but then Phillip Lahm from the German team made an incredible shot in the 89th minute for a German win. It was really amazing and considering that the Turks have made some seriously awesome comebacks during the Euro Cup, I was a little nervous that they would score, but there wasn't enough time.

After watching the game with Greg, Megan, and Megan's roommate, we went over to Z├╝lpicher Platz because we knew that everybody would be out on the street partying. It was total chaos, everyone cheering, cars honking, people dancing in the street and waving flags around. My three companions left because they needed to go home, but I found Johannes and Matthias from work and continued partying with them instead.

So Germany is in the final on Sunday against either Russia or Spain, depending on who wins the game tonight. It'll be extremely exciting because Germany is in the final and if they played like how they did against Portugal, I think they have a good chance of winning. If they play like they did last night against Turkey (even though they won), I'm not sure if they would have a good chance at all. My dad arrives in Germany on Sunday and I'm going to bring him somewhere to watch the game. It's called culture.

For the time being, I can't upload any photos...but I will once I transfer them to my computer.