Greece and Germany Take Their Fight Outside

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Greece and Germany Take Their Fight Outside

Post by BubbleBliss on Fri Jun 22, 2012 2:52 pm

Greece and Germany Take Their Fight Outside

By Miriam Widman

For months, Germans have been complaining of Greek profligacy while Greeks have been griping about German bullying. Now, the two countries will have it out on the football pitch. The symbolism of Friday night's match has become difficult to ignore.

Germany and Greece. They are Europe's strongest and weakest members -- at least financially. The two countries will face off on Friday night, but not, as they so often have in recent months, at the negotiating table.

This time they will meet on the football field, where the two national teams will battle it out in a quarter-final match at the European Football Championship, co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine. But will the German side dominate the Greeks on the pitch as thoroughly as Chancellor Angela Merkel has dominated the discussion about the future of the euro and austerity measures in Greece?

German national team coach Joachim Löw says he's not interested in linking Greece's euro troubles to the ones its players may have on the field with his team. "As you know we have a good relationship with Angela Merkel," Löw told reporters at a press conference this week. Indeed, Löw's team considers the chancellor to be its lucky charm. After she visited the team at its hotel in Gdansk ahead of the tournament, Die Mannschaft, or "The Team," as they're called in German, proceeded to win all three of their group-stage matches.

So it was good news when the Chancellery announced on Wednesday that following her meeting with Italian, French and Spanish leaders in Rome on Friday, Merkel would attend their match against Greece. The schedule change was made possible after the Italian government moved up the meeting time, which was initially supposed to end just as Germany and Greece kicked off.

Grudge Match

It is unclear if she will meet newly elected Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras at the game, but Löw has nevertheless been trying to downplay the inevitable political overtones of the match. "We've made an agreement that she doesn't meddle in the line-up and tactics and I don't do that with her political statements," he said.

When it comes to trying to preserve the euro's value, Merkel is seen as the currency union's taskmaster. And Greece, perceived as the biggest troublemaker among the euro-zone's ailing economies, has often been the target of her efforts, which many in the country feel have been too harsh.

Though the current euro crisis debate is focused on whether the terms of Greece's EU bailout can be relaxed, extra chances for the Greek team are unlikely to be willingly accorded on the Gdansk football field this Friday. So far, the German side has been a formidable presence in the tournament, having racked up their three victories in a group that was considered to be by far the toughest.

But the Greeks haven't played poorly, either. They tied co-hosts Poland in the opening match, which was widely expected to be won by the Poles. Then they lost to the Czechs, but beat Russia in what was seen as a stunning upset. German coach Löw has said the Greeks are not to be discounted, and a few pundits agree. But the overwhelming majority of predictions are for a German victory. Naturally, German fans commenting on sports websites concur. They say Germany is not only superior when it comes to all things economic, but it also has a much better football team.

Germans Focus on Finances

And despite Löw's resistance to politicizing the match, many German fans appear to be more concerned with Greece's economic woes than with its potential to kick Germany out of the tournament.

"Hello you dear Greeks. I wouldn't try to get revenge with your loser team," one fan wrote in an online post co-published by Yahoo Sport Deutschland and EuroSport.com. "I would lay the blame for your disaster on yourselves (the people who don't pay their taxes and the others who send their money abroad or invest in German stocks)," the fan continued.

The German preoccupation with Greece's economic woes can be seen in the numerous postings on such sites that nearly all begin with commentary about the economy instead of the Euro 2012 competition. Some are way below the belt. "Here's a secret tactical tip," one user suggested. "Every German player takes a few euro coins onto the field and lets one fall when things get tough. The Greeks will be so busy picking them up that the players can continue to kick the ball unobstructed."

Another cursed the Greeks, saying they have been feeding off the EU, and thus Germany, because the country is the biggest financial supporter of the EU. "I would have thrown them out of the EU and let them go completely bankrupt with their worthless drachma. But when it comes to football: 7:0 for Germany," it said.

But there was at least one commenter who rooted for the underdog Greeks. "It would be really beautiful if (Greece), which has been cursed and denigrated from all sides, were to win over the 'top euro country'."
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BubbleBliss




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Re: Greece and Germany Take Their Fight Outside

Post by TexasBlue on Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:38 pm

What do you think of all this Greek stuff? It looks to me (from over here) that the Germans don't want to deal with Greece.


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“I’m not in favor of fairness. I’m in favor of freedom, and freedom is not fairness. Fairness means somebody has to decide what’s fair.” - Milton Friedman
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Re: Greece and Germany Take Their Fight Outside

Post by BubbleBliss on Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:45 pm


We don't want to deal with it, but as the economic driver of Europe we have to.
Kicking Greece out of the Euro Zone will have wide consequences in the economic sector and monetary stability. Nobody really knows how the markets will react, which is the main concern and reason why Greece is still in the EU.
Keeping Greece in the EU, it will cost a ton of money, but at least it shows the financial markets that the EU stands behind its members no matter what. Whether that will still be the case if Spain or Italy go bankrupt, nobody knows.
I have a feeling that there are no plans for these situations and problems that are occurring. The politicians are just waiting for something to occur and then they'll look for a solution.

Personally, I think as long as there is some sort of effort on the Greek side to get their shit in order, we should keep and support them.
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Re: Greece and Germany Take Their Fight Outside

Post by TexasBlue on Fri Jun 22, 2012 5:28 pm

I think you guys are wrong. But that's just me. It's kinda the mindset about the big banks here when people said they were too big to fail.


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“I’m not in favor of fairness. I’m in favor of freedom, and freedom is not fairness. Fairness means somebody has to decide what’s fair.” - Milton Friedman
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Re: Greece and Germany Take Their Fight Outside

Post by BubbleBliss on Fri Jun 22, 2012 5:30 pm


It's not about the banks, it's about investors in general. If they lose faith in the European Union / the Euro then that's the end of our half way stable financial systems all across Europe and parts of the rest of the world.
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