It was a humiliating defeat. The defending World Cup champs struggled throughout all of its mere three preliminary games, starting with its loss against Mexico, 1:0. They played erratically, haphazardly trying their luck on goals, which happened to pay off in the game against Sweden, at the last minute–a moment of hope which quickly ended in an upset by South Korea.
Not only do German soccer (fußball) games provide Germans with community (giving them a chance to drink, socialize, and experience real emotions together), they offer Germany a rare opportunity for collective pride. The World Cup is the only time an ordinary German can raise a German flag from his or her balcony and not risk being called a “Nazi.”
Many fans proud of the modern German flag argued that the team went into the World Cup with bad energy due to actions of players of Turkish descent. Players Özil and Gündogan met Turkish President Erdogan and signed his jerseys: “To my President, respectfully.” World Cup players must be team nationals, but these two seemed to have displayed allegiance to another nation, one being ruled by a dictator, no less.
Some fans called on Joachim Löw, the longtime coach, to boot them from the team.
Germany’s embarrassing performance and “Erdogate” reflect the split in Germany regarding how the government handles citizens of Turkish descent and a new Muslim population who may not be loyal to modern Germany’s values of democracy and individual rights. Many fans couldn’t wholeheartedly root for the team if the coach didn’t have the “balls” to take a stand for the country on the field by getting rid of the “turkeys.”
The World Cup is like a modern, pacifistic form of warfare—it allows countries to flex their muscle, fight, and win. “Soldiers” must show camaraderie and loyalty to their team and their flag, otherwise, lack of full trust might play out into mistakes, which is exactly what happened for Germany. There was a lack of cohesion among the players. Rumor has it there was locker room tension, too.
But Germany is mishandling its balls on more than just the soccer field. In life, they are often afraid of displaying any form of healthy nationalism, including cracking down on non-natives who behave badly. This also includes fiercely protecting its women and Jews from Islam-motivated attacks.
That’s why I’m here, as a Jew, to give Germans their balls back. Take a look at the third webisode of “Germany on the Couch with Dr. Orit” to find out how Germany could get its balls back so that it could stand up for the best of what she can be.