Multi-national flavour in German side

In the first half of the 20th century, wars whipped up nationalistic sentiments in many parts of the world. The dynamics of war changed dramatically in the second 50 years as a result of the proliferation of deadly, modern weapons. So countries have to think twice about sounding the war bugle these days.
Football is now a metaphor for war. The world’s most popular sport kindles patriotic fervour every four years like no other event. Flag waving is indeed fashionable during the World Cup. Even an avowed football ignoramus cannot remain insulated from the cup euphoria.
But the nationalism generated by football is not rabid; it is in tune with the globalised world we live in today. Cheer a group and have fun is the mantra of the 21st century.
The composition of some teams in the World Cup offers a fascinating insight into the psyche of football players and countries. It is ironical that Germany, of all countries, should have a multi-ethnic playing cast. The Mannschaft have players of Turkish, Spanish, Brazilian, Bosnian, Polish and Tunisian origin.
Adolf Hitler would have turned in his grave after Mesut Ozil, a third-generation Turkish immigrant, saved his dear country’s blushes with a majestic strike against Ghana in a critical Group D match. The Nazi leader would never have envisaged that players of all colour and creed would serve Germany so well. Far right parties in Germany and France continue to make noise about the composition of their national football teams, but fans have no time for rabble-rousers today.
Lukas Podolski and Miroslav Klose, both of Polish extraction, have found acceptance in Germany, even though they have always refused to sing the national anthem of their adopted country. German fans, not to speak of a succession of coaches, have embraced the duo whole-heartedly.
Football deserves some credit for blurring the lines of ethnicity in Germany. If immigrants from any other sphere of life seeking German nationality find the assimilation process easier, they can say a small thank you to footballers such as Ozil, Cacau, Khedira, Podolski and Klose.

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