While we`re on the subject of football, I may as well go right on to talking about patriotism- in Germany the two go hand-in-hand.
Germany is not a very patriotic country. It's just not. I've been here almost a year now and couldn't sing more than a few words of the German national anthem. In regular times, it's not uncommon to go a few days without seeing a single German flag. Germany doesn't have a collection of hymns and songs praising its purple mountains majesties, it's grand ol' flag, it fields of grain, pilgrim's pride, its Redwood forests... well, you get the point.
For the last few weeks, though, that's been completely different.
I think it's refreshing. I think it's quite important to love one's country- I don't mean the Germans don't love Germany, just that they don't show it as much. Sure, plenty of Germans think that America's pride is excessive and uncalled for, but I really do believe that a sense of 'team spirit' is healthy for a country.
I guess it has something to do with Germany's history- unfortunately, the name of the country still is a little stigmatic, and excessive national pride could be percieved as recoursive. Germans are much more proud of their region or city- city pride is quite present.
Because of the world cup, though, there are German flags everywhere- on every corner, on every car, worn as capes, on beer cans, in store windows... it's a nice reminder to me not to take the chance of living in a foreign country for granted.