Germany- damned if they, damned if they don’t

I’ve been a disciple of the German football team since 1986. It has gifted me with some of the best times of my life and I hold onto those memories now- knowing how precious they are.
My love of the World Cup and Germany will never change. Despite the loss to Japan, which I knew was coming. When you have a team as long as I do, you seem to know the score before the match. They played attacking football with high ball possession, but didn’t score and lost to a ‘lesser’ team’ -a carbon copy of the match against South Korea in 2018, and many matches since their World Cup hangover from 2014.
It’s awful. My expectations are low and I fear the worst against Spain. My only solace is that the Euros are happening in Germany in 2024. We can drink beer in public viewing areas, sing, dance, fill stadiums, be merry and hopefully not blast a 1bn tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere.  I assume no migrant workers will die in the building of stadiums- because they’ve already been built with unionised workers. Everything is there already, the roads, the infrastructure and the love of football.
The difference will be immense to this year’s World Cup, which is occurring on the back of a promises made by meglamoniacal Sepp Blatter, muddying the beautiful game along the way.
But the World Cup was decided for Qatar in 2010. Many people were annoyed about it then. We wrote about our annoyance, and how we can’t justify or excuse the deaths that occurred as a result of building seven stadia. We know Qatar is a conservative country and don’t agree with a Winter Word Cup, migrant deaths or the fact that homosexuality is illegal.
Many of the footballers taking part in in were in school then. Now they want to take a stand, even though the Qatar selection has nothing to do with them. The German team, buckling under the pressure to be champions of human rights as a result of residual, pervasive war guilt, felt they need to do something.
After much discussion within the team and pressure from outside, they decided to put their hand in front of their mouth in protest to not being allowed to wear the One Love Armband,  stating that they can’t be silenced. Then they were silenced, by Japan and became a laughing stock of the world. The gesture ended up a joke. By trying to show their support for human rights, they somehow annoyed everyone.
They annoyed their country people, of whom only 9 million tuned in compared to 25 million for the first match in 2018- which they also lost. They irritated their critics, who think they should have gone the whole hog and boycotted the World Cup or at the very least worn the One Love armband, and they insulted a large chunk of their followers who come from the Middle East. The German national team is hugely popular in these countries, and many could see these as an affront. Also, if they do this in Qatar, what about the people from Qatar in Germany, how do they treat them? You visit their country- and are disgusted as a guest, but not of people who come to your country from conservative nations? Would you put your hand in front of your mouth in the Arab quarter in Berlin?  They knew the country’s traditions, whatever about FIFA’s backtracking and threats.
They may see it as a meddling in their affairs. It will cost them, not just in terms of viewership, but also sponsorship- a main sponsor REWE already pulled out, but also in sales of merchandise. It wasn’t thought through. Some of the players spent an hour the night before the match deliberating their move. They should have just focused on the game- because that’s what the Japanese did and they beat them.
Needless to say, Qatar isn’t the only country in the World Cup, where homosexuality is banned, it was even banned in Ireland in 1990 during Italia 90. When Germany played a friendly here in 1989, Lothar Mattheaus and co didn’t hold their hand in front of their mouths. We weren’t angry then, and retrospectively we don’t look back in anger. The German team were right about protesting, but in life and football, you can’t suit everyone.
The only thing that will save them is victory against Spain.. a nation holds its breath.