How cruel they were, those Greek graffiti artists and cartoonists a decade ago, who portrayed Angela Merkel, whom they saw as their financial oppressor, with a fascist moustache.
But now Germany has been ejected from the World Cup (and by South Korea!!!). The last time this happened so early in the Cup was, we are told, eighty years ago in 1938. (So if, in some Pub Quiz, you are asked what Adolph's and Angela's Germanies had in common, you know the answer.) O Frabjous Day! Callooh! Callay! (rendered by RAK as "O trisbakarton hemar: o kalou kala"). Or to quote Alcaeus, Nun Khre methusthen kai tina per bian/ ponen ... [Do it now! It's a Must! Get drunk! Go right over the top with your tippling!]
And Argentina! Holed below the waterline by dear plucky little Croatia!! What a game that was! Will the Argies' next game prove their final Belgrano?
What fun Footie is when the Baddies get clobbered!
I feel we probably ought to be making the most of it ...
Nota explicativa: demotic English antipathies tend not to have any relation with past wars, but, rather, with hubris thought to have been exhibited on the Games' Field. Hubris is the Greek equivalent of the Spanish Maradonna.
29 June 2018
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The parallel between 1938 and 2018 is not quite exact, as in 1938 there was no “group phase” in the tournament. But the Germans fell at the first hurdle in either case, that’s the main thing.
A brief history lesson: both England and Germany performed poorly in the Euro 2000 football tournament. England’s response was to cross our fingers and place our hopes in David Beckham – a policy whose flaws were exposed spectacularly when he broke his foot shortly before the 2002 World Cup. But Germany, now, ah…. Their response to Euro humiliazion was rather different, bracingly Teutonic, and typically socialistic. At vast expense they instituted and enforced the Extended Talent Promotion Programme (I’m assuming there’s a long German word for this) to remedy the national team’s defects. In time, a group of talented players duly emerged, winning first the Under-21 Euros in 2009 before going on to lift the World Cup itself in 2014.
It is this generation of players that has fallen from grace so spectacularly in 2018. I like to think of this as a metaphor for socialism, the EU, and for Germany. Not quite sure what the metaphor is, but who cares. Come on England!
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