This past week has been filled with a lot of excitement and emotions for the beginning of the World Cup. Germany, as you may know, is a four-time world champion, and I was curious to find out how passionate Germans were about their national team. I didn’t find a lot of excitment about the beginning of the world cup. Most of the bars of the Bürgermeister-Brunner-Straße and Friedrich-Erbert-Straße were empty with only a few soccer fans anxious to see an extraordinary game
I have to say that Kassel is a small city with under 200′ 000 people. Despite being a city, Kassel has all the ingredients to be considered a small town. Part of the quietness and peace in the environment that capture any foreigner has to do with the small population size. Despite that, it was a little surprising to me that they did not share the same happiness for the beginning of the World Cup as people from other countries. Of course, being a four-time champion and never missing a World Cup participation, the World Cup is taken naturally.
Quite the opposite for me, being a huge soccer fan, my home country, Peru, has made it to the World Cup after 36 years. I have lived every game and watched the post-match analysis as I have never done it before. I have waited my entire life for a moment like this and here I was in an irish pub with a friend and a Peruvian girl who brought her German boyfriend along to root for our country. No one else inside the bar.
Unfortunately and despite being superior to the Danish team, Peru lost. Heart broken. No comments. On my way home, while I was walking along Wilhelmshöher Alle with my Peruvian jersey on, a couple of Germans tried to cheer me up saying that we had a good team and that we did not deserve to lose at all.
To my surprise, my World Cup experience was different in Frankfurt. We had a scheduled visit on Sunday. Yes, the same day as the Germany vs Mexico game. We arrived at noon and we headed directly to our first stop: the colorful old town. Without any expectation, while we were walking down the street right outside the Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof, we passed many restaurants that were going to show that game offering .50 cent-beer.
After our visit to the Städel Museum and the cathedral, we decided to head back close to the station to grab lunch. As time went by, people who were wearing German jerseys multiplied. As we walked back to the station, I could hear the chants by the German fans. I was astonished. There wasn’t a single table empty to sit at. We needed to ask a German couple if we could share the table with them.
The game started, German fans all over the place and, along with them, a huge glass of beer. Everything was ready for the celebration of the biggest party in the world: the World Cup. Both teams jumped on the field willing to leave their heart and soul for their national team. A fearless Mexico surprised, since the beginning by their well- organized defense and their sharp counter-attacks. To shock the world and the German fans, Mexico beat Germany with a historic result.
Despite the sadness and the disappointment on the streets, there was something that caught my attention. Among the people were a few Mexican fans in ecstasy by the victory. But right after the game, you could see Germans and Mexicans talking about the game in a very friendly manner, eating nachos while they were drinking a German beer. And its amazing how for 90 minutes of the game you could be rivals and chanting your lung out for your team. But once the game is over, the same rivalry disappears. And that is exactly why soccer is the best sport: it brings people from different cultures together to celebrate the same love for the sport.
Soccer shows that despite our cultural differences, our skin color, and different languages we are all the same. All of us cried when our team lost and shouted out of happiness when our team scoreed. Soccer shows us that we not only share the same love for a sport but for life. At then end of the day, I was glad to see a German person asking for a nachos with chicken while the Mexicans asked for a Radler while both were talking about the game.
Soccer is magical because it is the best excuse to be happy.
Here are some pictures of my trip to Frankfurt: