Greece vs. Germany or “The bailout game”: Politics and Football in the Greek media

The Greek MYPLACE team at Panteion University of Social And Political Sciences present their latest blog on the political background to Greece’s Euro 2012 football quarter final against Germany. For more information on the MYPLACE project, visit the project’s website HERE or the project’s blog HERE. You can also follow MYPLACE on twitter

Last Saturday, when Greece defeated the Russians 1-0 everybody was thinking of the following opponent (i.e. Germany) of the Greek national team. The next day’s sport newspapers referred to this possibility with front pages and headlines like: “Bring us Merkel now!” And “This is the way how they qualify those who owe you!”

The whole week before the game all the Greek media mentioned the way the German media talked about the match, referring to all their humiliating comments about the Greek team. Huge discussions took place regarding the ‘spy’ Bildsent to our team’s hotel and his criticism, for example on the fact that our manager is smoking too much and that the only thing that is working in our hotel is the percolator! These kinds of provocations caused many reactions. However, the official and genial stance of the German government was also presented and positively commented. One thing that was highly commented was the fact that German workers in almost all the factories could leave their workplace earlier on the day of the game in order to watch it. This, of course, had to do with the accusations that Greeks are lazy and that they do not want to work and it was immediate connected with that.

Before the game all the evening television broadcasts dedicated about 20 minutes for the game and many of them as their first issue! In fact the sport caster of the Greek public television (NET) when she appeared before game she had painted the Greek flag on her face!

We should also mention that when she presented the German team she commented the fact that too many of the players are not of German origin (they come from Poland, Spain, Turkey, Armenia, Bosnia, Ghana, Brazil, Tunisia and Nigeria). Finally, the Neo-Nazi party, “Golden Dawn”, made a public announcement wishing good luck to the Greek team and arguing that the Greeks owe nothing to the Germans, on the contrary they owe us, implying the German occupation during the WWII and the compensation they should pay for the destruction they caused.

It should be noted that thousands of people watched this match due to its symbolic character in apartments, coffee houses and restaurants, because as it was said this game was like the battle between David and Goliath. No need to mention that Portuguese and Spaniards were supporting the Greek team! Furthermore, the manager of the Greek team participated in a spot claiming that during the 90 minutes of a football match it doesn’t matter if you come from a powerful or a weak state, from a rich or a poor people, from a small or a great country, passion is what matters against any opponent.

The day after the game all the media acknowledged Germany’s superiority and argued that along with Spain they are the best teams in Europe and one of the best teams in the world. However, everyone felt proud for the Greek players and the two goals they scored against the Germans.

Of course, as it was mentioned in one television broadcast before the game, the Greeks have defeated the Germans in the most famous football match in the history of sport and of philosophy too! (Monty Python). See the video below:

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