German football culture in the new millennium: ethnic diversity, flair and youth on and off the pitch

Udo Merkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Germany sent its most ethnically diverse team ever to Poland and Ukraine to compete in Euro 2012. Over the last six years, the Germany manager, Joachim Löw, has not only revitalized and rejuvenated his squad but also included a considerable number of players with foreign roots and from ethnic minorities. This ethnic and cultural diversity of the current German national side is the result of some major policy changes in the country at the turn of the millennium that made it easier for immigrants and their offspring to gain citizenship. In comparison with other European nations, it is not a reflection of a colonial history but a model of contemporary German society. This paper argues that the above-mentioned changes on the pitch are also reflected off it. Both the 2006 and 2010 Soccer World Cups and Euro 2012 turned into widespread and colourful celebrations of a new, modern sense of Germanness underpinned by a non-threatening and playful patriotism. The creativity, diversity, youth, style and flair of both the German team and its supporters presented the country as a confident and more embracing place than ever before.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-255
Number of pages15
JournalSoccer and Society
Volume15
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2014

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