Spain’s national soccer team returned home to a hero’s welcome Monday after beating Germany 1-0 to win the Euro 2008 championship. It was Spain’s first major championship in 44 years. “A football victory on this level strengthens the unity in a country,” Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero said. (The Washington Post)
What the commentators said
Soccer has such power to stir up “tribal feelings” that a Dutch coach once famously said, “Soccer is war,” said Ian Buruma in the Los Angeles Times. But there was “harmony” on the field and in the stands this year that showed that Europe is moving beyond the memory of its wars, as national pride makes way for “a new European spirit.”
Look at the team rosters and you’ll see one reason, said Anne Applebaum in The Washington Post. “The ethnic composition of the teams is nowadays as fluid as the ethnic composition of the nations they claim to represent,” so the players are at the forefront of a new, “multicultural goodwill” in Europe.
Fans can still go nuts for their team, said Shlomi Barzel in the Israeli daily Haaretz. But this year’s peaceful championship proved that “violence, racism, and hooliganism have been abolished,” and “that patriotism and nationalism are not necessarily declarations of war.”
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The Obama era is over. The presidency continues.
- What is Molly? Everything you need to know about the party drug
- America created the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria? Meet the ISIS 'truthers'
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Russia's giant spy ship was a high-tech disaster waiting to happen
- How American businessmen are ruining American business — and the U.S. economy
- How Harry Houdini escaped death
- 10 things you need to know today: September 2, 2014
- On ISIS, neocons and liberal hawks have a 'boy who cried wolf' problem
- How to stop misogynists from terrorizing the world of gamers
Subscribe to the Week