Germany has conquered the World Cup. What about the world?

With a bit of an exaggeration with can say that in Europe Chancellor Merkel always wins. So again with a bit of an exaggeration can we say that the World Cup victory is a stamp of approval on the German global might? Read few comments.

Jörg ForbrigSenior Program Officer for Central and Eastern Europe, Director of the Fund for Belarus Democracy, German Marshall Fund

First and foremost, this victory is the achievement of the best team Germany has had in two decades. It combines amazing individual talent with a strong collective spirit, has grown over years of hard work, and has also suffered a few setbacks that only made the team stronger. More broadly, it is certainly also fair to say that this world cup win is a result of Germany’s very well-developed sports structures that spot and nurture talent from a very young age. This considerable and long-term investment paid off.

With all the excitement, we should be careful not to read too much into this victory. Football is a game of sports after all, not a statement of political might. It is neither the achievement of Angela Merkel and her current government (after all, she has been in power for two previous world cups, which Germany did not win) nor an expression German political power (the country has won the world cups three times in the past when it was only a semi-sovereign country). At most, this victory may be a source of joy and self-confidence for Germany. And one can only hope that this boost will last and help Germany to face up to the many challenges ahead, whether at home or wherever in the world conflicts require a more proactive German policy than to date.

Christian SchweigerLecturer in Government, Department of Politics, Durham University

It was a difficult match but I think in the end Germany won the title deservedly.

I would however completely reject the notion that this victory has anything to do with Germany’s current dominant political position in Europe or with Merkel’s standing. All it represents is a deserved victory for Joachim Loew’s strategy as the manager and the team’s skills on the pitch, most of all their ability to play as a team which so many other teams did manage (most of all Brazil and England).

Mixing this up with politics is on my opinion not only unfair to Loew and the players but also dangerous because the success of Germany in football should be considered separately from its political standing. Some say Merkel’s attendance at matches always brought the team good luck. Yes maybe she did but that would be as far as it went. I think you could say that this success represents a clear victory for those who fundamentally overhauled Germany’s then rather conservative approach to football. These were Juergen Klinsmann and Joachim Loew. Klinsmann who is now manager of the US national team congratulated the team via Twitter yesterday, you may have seen my retweet. Maybe Germany showed the world that a strong team spirit and dedication can lead to victory.

Carolin RügerInstitute for Political Science and Social Research – European Research and International Relations, Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

Despite being a huge fan and follower of both football and politics, I would recommend to not exaggerate the link between these two spheres. Empirical studies on sports and politics tend to show that there is weak evidence for politicians benefitting from national sports success in the long run. Nevertheless, particularly in Germany the symbolic value may not be underestimated: the Miracle of Bern in 1954 as a symbol for being back on the world stage or the victory of 1990 as a support for re-unifying a nation. In my opinion, however, the focus should not be on Germany, but on the link between sports and politics in a broader sense: What does it mean for countries like Brazil, Russia or Qatar to host huge sports events? Who are the winners and losers?


One Response

  1. I think you’re right.

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