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Joanna Harvey's World Cup Volunteer Blog: Germany vs. Ecuador

This day had started at 6:00 a.m. for me. I had to use the ICE (InterCity Express) train, which has capabilities of going 300 kmh, to make it from my apartment in Goettingen to the volunteer center Berlin by 10:00 a.m. in time for check in.

For reasons I can not, and will not, attempt to fathom people had called in saying they were unable to work the Germany vs. Ecuador game. I was reassigned to another team to support the security in the entry way outside of the stadium.

There my tasks included smiling and helping the people put their ticket in the scanner in the proper direction. The tickets have a barcode which contain personal information, such as name, birthday, and place of residence on it. This is to avoid black market pricing from scalpers and what not. From my perspective, this was not extremely enforced. Sure they spot checked every now and then, but I saw two fifty-something year old guys cruising by with a 1987 birth date year. Hey, if the official security guy doesn’t care, I much less cared and would rather leave the dirty work of rejecting someone the opportunity of seeing a World Cup game to him.

It was just as I had expected. A plethora of individuals with not a whole lot to do. I was at my station two hours before the game began so of course there was not much to do at that point in time other than attempt to remain hydrated, and get fried by the sun. Still, I couldn’t help but feel a bit superfluous in a setting among the hired security staff and the numerous volunteers saturating the entry points.

As I looked through the gate I saw the mob of fans waiting behind the gates. The wolves were waiting to be released. I was on the second entry check point where after the fans had passed the first point, which meant ticket checking, bag searching, and body frisking, then they came over to my section where their tickets were scanned.

Once the game started I was allowed to leave my station as most of the fans had already entered. I went into the stadium and tried to make sense of the auditory overload. The two most prevalent mantras that day were “Wir fahren nach Berlin.” (We’re driving to Berlin.) and “Si se puede Ecuador!” (It can be done, Ecuador!) I thought “Wir fahren nach Berlin.” was funny considering the German team was playing in Berlin that day, but this chant was obviously meant to serve as encouragement for the final.

In the fourth minute, Klose had scored the first goal of the game, and the stadium instantly turned into a sea of frantically waving black, red, and gold flags.

I am extremely pleased that the German’s have permitted themselves to display pride and patriotism for their country. I don’t see why it would be any other way, but I know that it could have been. Even though Germany has displayed great progress and leadership in the last sixty years, many of my friends have explained to me their ambiguous relationship to their flag and the concept of patriotism. It was the case that if one had displayed their flag, or showed patriotism for their country, that this would be mistaken for Neonazism. German’s can, and should, be proud. Germany has served as an excellent host to the 2006 FIFA World Cup and has the world smiling due to their hospitality.

By the time the third goal had been scored for the German team, and after the names “Jurgen Klinnsmen” and “Lucas Podolosky” had been sung, a celebratory hymn apparently was in order. I would like to apologize in advance for not being able to accurately capture the essence of this song due to the translation. Nevertheless, it was so moving to hear and feel the energy poured into this chant by the fans that I have to share it:

Oh wie ist das schoooooooooooon. (Oh how this is great.)
Oh wie ist das schoooooooooooon. (Oh how this is great.)
So `was hat man lange nicht gesehen. (Something like this one has not seen in a long time.)
So schon. So schon. (So great. So great.)

Ecuador was tireless in supporting their team, but unfortunately “no podrían” in Berlin on Tuesday. The game ended 3:0, Germany secured its spot in the next round, but this did not eradicate the morale of the Ecuadorian fans. Ecuador has secured a spot for the next round as well and will be playing England on Sunday. Buena suerte Ecuador.