Soccer clubs are tied to a neighborhood or city. Doing well inspires local pride. National teams expand the base of supporters.
Beirut-born Ibrahim (or Youssef) Bassal displayed a 70′ x 20′ German flag to show his family’s solidarity during the World Cup where millions of smaller flags are everywhere. Only people keep vandalizing the flags because they brings up painful memories. It speaks volumes about the tension over national pride when people resort to vigilantism over something like a flag. Also, there is something ironic about people stealing a flag because to them it represents the Fourth Reich from someone who would be a victim if true.
“This time we’re not going to let them attack it. We’re going to guard our flag. We are sleeping here in the shop and waiting for Saturday. We’re not going to let the left-wingers destroy us — or the right-wingers. We live here. Our kids are born here. We want them to keep living here,” Bassal says.
Personally, I think the anti-nationalists forget their history. Of the many, many opportunities for Adolf Hitler to watch soccer, he only attended one and left early from it because Germany was losing to Norway. Since Hitler disliked football, this national pride in something he disliked should be a good thing.
One more thing… Long before Jackie Robinson integrated baseball, South American countries found black players could be very skilled and promoted integration. Hitler would oppose the team because of the racial diversity of the German team like Aogo, Cacau, Boeteng. Therefore, a win by the German national soccer team is a win against Hitler.