Euro 2012 Germany vs Greece: A Game Loaded with National Pride and Political Conflicts
Europe is currently taking a little break from its growing debt crisis, a currency issue and tension between members. It is, of course, Euro 2012 which will crown “soccer”‘s European champion. “Soccer” is a word invented by Americans, it is- in my view- a demeaning term for a sport which is accurately called football everywhere else in the world. The term “soccer” only exists in America’s sport lexicon because football was taken by the Americanized version of rugby. So, from then on we will call “soccer”, by its proper universal name: football.
Euro 2012 has entered the quarter final stage. It has been a very open and high quality competition which came with a few surprises and had games already full of drama inside and outside the stadiums. Prior to the match between one of the host countries-Poland-and Russia, Russian fans marched in the streets. In order to avoid clashes with Polish fans riot police were sent in to intervene and disperse the march of the Russian fans. Both host countries ( Ukraine and Poland) have been eliminated and are now out of the competition. If the tensions anchored in history were palpable during the match opposing Poland to Russia , the current economic and political crisis will make Friday’s game with Germany against Greece explosive.
Chancellor Merkel is scheduled to attend Friday’s game. Germany is a much better team, but the Greek players will have a whole nation behind them. A nation which feels that, once again, Germany wants to become the master of Europe, this time through economic means not military one. In Greece, recent cartoons of Merkel are portraying her as a new Adolf Hitler. Europe is more passionate about football than about any other sports, and usually it is a way for European nations to express, for better or worse, their national pride. One of the greatest merits a team sport like football possess is to work out the tensions between nations peacefully, in stadiums not in wars’ killing fields. It is also an arena where the underdog, Greece in the case of Friday’s game, can beat the odds. The eleven players of the Greek team will be lifted by the anger, the passion and the spirit of a whole nation against a country which many Greeks view as the oppressor again, just like during World War II.
International sports, and football is the uncontested top sport worldwide, are a peaceful way for nations to deal with conflicts. The European Union is on shaky ground right now. Many think it has to do mainly with economic parameters, disparities between members on budget balance sheets. But this is not the case. The main issue of Europe, at this juncture is a lack of political will, a lack of vision characterized by Angela Merkel who displays more the personality of an East German accountant as opposed to the one of a political leader. At its inception, the European Union’s main goal was not the creation of some sort of capitalist “free market” for goods and services. It was a decision made so that the monumental tragedies and atrocities that were World War I and World War II would never happen again.
Euro 2012 is one of the celebrations of the past 67 years of peaceful European history. But for this to be preserved, Germany, the current leader of the EU, has to make compromises and further understand that all the EU members are tied at the hip. If Greece falls, it will shortly- in a cataclysmic domino effect- be the turn of Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Italy.
On Friday, Germany will play Greece at the Euro 2012, and Germany is projected to win. But the Greek players will play with the spirit and fire of a nation. Today, Portugal defeated the Czech Republic and will face the winner of the game between Spain and France which takes place on Saturday. In the other quarter final, England will face Italy on Sunday. News Junkie Post forecast is a final between Spain- the current world and European champion-and Germany, and ultimately a win for Europe’s super-economic power: Germany.