Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Game over for England...

On Sunday I had the choice: to work more on my latest music project, or to watch as history would be re-written at the football (soccer) worldcup game England-Germany. Since the weather was unusually good - temperature up to 27 deg C, blue sunny sky - I decided it might be ok to give Gustav Mahler a rest and instead drive to the East coast, to Filey, and have a dip in the water. On the way everywhere the George-cross England flag. The fans clearly were looking forward to this game. The press in the UK did have its usual headlines full of pun, when it came to talk about the upcoming match: "Herr we come again" and similar. I guess this verbal German-bashing is part of the local folklore here - without it a match against the German team would just be half the fun. Interesting is that this agitated attitude that can be seen in the press is not at all present in anybody I spoke to: all the English people I know had a quite differentiated attitude, being critical about the performance of their team, and admiring the success and strength of the German team.

I was looking forward to this game, especially because I could be happy either way: it really did not matter to me if Germany (my home country) would win, or England (my host country, which pays my wage). I even had both flags, still left over from the last world cup in 2006. Well, deep inside I probably would root for the German team...

Many pubs on the way had signs outside stating "World cup game on big screen", so one could watch inside. Also at the beach in Filey there was one opportunity to see the game - with a window view over the water. The beach was, as expected, relatively empty. But there were still quite a few people who clearly were not interested in football: they were just strolling along the promenade, some of them mumbling something about football being the most boring thing in the world. But this attitude here in the UK is clearly in a minority.

10 minutes before 15:00 I headed to the Coble Bar, which had the sign outside that there would be a TV for viewing the game. I got a Shandy and a Sunday roast (for an incredible 4.95) and sat down. There were several beach goers who starred at the 32" screen. Strange atmosphere: no Hooliganism, but silence, like in a church, as everybody was watching the initial minutes. A unisono "ouww" at the 1:0 for Germany. Another one at the 2:0. One woman said that England will loose 0:6, and that these guys are way overpaid. Then a loud cheer when the 2:1 happened, and another one at the 2:2. That one turned into a disappointment, as it was not awarded, and from then on it went downhill. I must say that not awarding this goal was a stupid decision - it should have been counted after the video replay. Well, I am sure that the rules for this will be changed soon.

The mood in the Coble Bar was somber at the end when the official score was 4:1 for Germany. I would still count the score as 4:2, which is also quite bad for the English team. Germany won deservedly: they had a great team play, with some text-book-like goals. The English team was not working well together, although they did have some good chances and were playing aggressively.

I really feel sorry for the English fans. They are truly committed to their team, and were so looking forward, in a way in self-denial of the overall bad performance in past games. On the way back from Filey there were much fewer flags on houses and cars.

On Monday one of the newspaper headlines had something along the lines "If the defence in WW2 had been like this, we would speak German now". (They just cannot stop here with references about the World War, but that is ok - part of the folklore here.)

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