22nd June, 2012
German newspapers Friday light-heartedly mixed politics and football with an eye on Germany’s Euro 2012 encounter with Greece, suggesting the national team take a leaf out of Angela Merkel’s book.
The German chancellor is due to dash from a four-way summit in Rome to watch Germany’s showdown with Greece in the quarter final in Gdansk, Poland, later against a backdrop of the eurozone’s debt turmoil.
While Greek sports newspapers waxed defiantly in their anti-German sentiment, many German papers deployed humour in the countdown to the match, pitting Europe’s most troubled economy against its effective paymaster.
The tabloid BZ turned its cover pages into a poster of the German national squad, clad in their white and black strip but with Merkel’s face — pulling 11 different expressions — on top of each player.
“Today, 20:45, there’s Greece — tuition in things EURO. Lads, do like the chancellor: hard, but fair!,” the paper said joking that “of course” later the chancellor would only be in the VIP rostrum in Gdansk.
Bild struck a confident note but mulled a dilemma for Merkel.
“Bye Greeks. We can’t save you today!” read its front-page headline, calling the match “the hottest duel of the year” while in its inside page dubbing it “Merkel’s most difficult game”.
With photos of Merkel at previous German matches, it asked: “How much can the chancellor celebrate a goal against the Greeks… restrained or…totally let go?”
Die Welt newspaper had the same concern.
“If she is too openly excited about a German goal, the sensitive Greeks are annoyed… if she claps in a restrained way, in Germany they’ll say ‘the chancellor could at least celebrate the successes of her team properly.'”
“Creditors against debtors” headlined the Tageszeitung, while the Berliner Zeitung called the match a “Euro duel” and said it was not only about football but also politics.
“An encounter in the perspective of the euro-crisis,” it said.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung illustrated its front page with a picture from a legendary Monty Python sketch, depicting a football match betweeen philosophers representing Greece and Germany.
“Germans like Greeks consider themselves a nation of poets and thinkers…” the paper quipped.
At the end of the day, commented the Tagesspiegel, for its part: “It is however… just a game.”